‘The Beta Test’ – Surviving (again) oneself

‘The Beta Test’ It’s not a movie for everyone, any more than the previous two Jim Cummings movies were. Beside ‘Thunder Road‘ and ‘The Wolf of Snow Hollow‘, a kind of thematic trilogy about the personal midlife crises suffered by the characters Cummings himself plays, including, of course, and as a sign of identity, the usual monologue moment in which he verbalizes all his internal rage . A film in which he also plays with appearances, being and not being what he might seem to be, but he does not end up being, without ceasing to be what he wants to be: A satire of the Hollywood backroom through the figure of the agents, often mindundis who think they’re pissing cologne because they’ve been in the same bathroom as some movie star (even if it’s not at the same time). All this, of course, with an undoubted “indie” flavor. A satire about the moral rottenness of the film industry and also the risks of giving away your privacy to the Internet which, like his two previous works, neither is nor wants to be an easy film, being, once again, its unpredictable tonal and plot debauchery. his greatest virtue. That ability to “funambular” on that fine line in which comedy, drama, suspense, seriousness, anguish, lightness, the generic and the serious merge into one.

‘The Beta Test’ It could very well be a twisted Brian de Palma-style sexual thriller with touches of the Coens or Quentin Dupieux, because it relapses into the obvious of what, after three films, already seems to be Cummings’s own sensibility. A film that shows how Hollywood can be a system with shitty power dynamics, where agents work for minimum wage under the unrealizable promise of reaching the top of Beverly Hills. Although his intentions are clearer than ever, Cummings continues to amus himself at the expense of audience expectations, in a new generic perversion that tries to sidestep the usual assumptions and conventions and rarely moves in a straight line. Without giving a few roundabouts. Or stop to run some errands. And with Cummings’ particular and macabre sense of humor that gives the film that personal touch, as distinctive as it is also elusive. Beneath the appearance of him, ‘The Beta Test’ it becomes another descent into hell for a wretch who doesn’t know how wretched he is. Also, the confirmation of a filmmaker with his own voice that he does not want to see himself cornered in the back of the closet of a catalog in which many will not know where to put him, precisely because he is himself and not someone else. And for that very reason, he is so easy to embrace or reject beyond his means.

By Juan Pairet Iglesias

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