Projections - Movie Reviews

Groove Groove

Think, Thank God It's Friday mixed with Y2K getting Ecstasy in one form or another and you come up with the techno atmospheric Groove, a hip romp in the Bay Area club scene with soapy subplots on and below the surface that has little to rave about.

Editor Greg Harrison who also directs and writes in Hollywood fashion with an independent budget that barely reached six figures, scores mostly from its rhythmic generation of the underground as his pepped characters are given snappy intros, similar to the unfocused but almost as giddy Human Traffic. Groove advertises raving better than Justin Kerrigan did in the Welsh Traffic.  Harrison employs real disk jockeys who spin life into the dancing throngs.  Both rave films don't boast a cogent narrative, as non addicts with jobs that just pay the rent, look to get high on their favorite recreational drugs.

The four main players in Harrison's habitually euphoric film include MacKenzie Firgens' perky Harmony who's with beau Colin (Denny Kirkwood) on his birthday.  Colin wants his aspiring author of a brother, David (Hamish Linklater), to attend a rave at a dormant San Francisco warehouse in spite of his anti social nature.

A beat cop (Nick Offerman) smells the Ecstasy induced setup, as the rave promoter, Ernie (Steve Van Wormer) is told to keep the music down, while the officer gets a tour of a "legit software enterprise."

Before the inevitable police raid, Groove keeps us aware of the time and the revered deejays who satisfy the tripping, grooving horde with their fists in the air.  When Harrison breaks from the hyper dancing, he looks behind the music at a drug dealer, a Casanova, and a repulsive skinhead who gains attention by overdosing.

Harrison spends some quality time with the tentative, strung out David and a dour, yet sympathetic Leyla who becomes the object of the addled man's affections.

After its bust, Groove tries to revive the good times, as a heavy psychedelic production pervades this postmodern American Graffiti.  Harrison acquits himself best as a crisp editor rather than a cunning storyteller.  Affected by Ecstasy like the others, Linklater and Glaudini offer the most vivid characterizations underlining an enslavement from their decisions.

Groove has no big drug statements to make besides the sense of consumption.  Its amusing passages turn on a gay twosome who can't find the rave and DJ Dimitri's nervous, but good-natured colleague Ernie.  Those who are unappreciative of being a part of the rave culture will applaud the picture's brief running time, as Harrison's trendy exploration grooves the most when smooth turntable operators like DJ John Digweed provide musical ecstasy.


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