The plot for The Alley Cat is one that I thought I could never like. After all, what do I care about a renegade bicycle messenger race?! It’s certainly not the sort of movie I’d ever seek out and the only reason I saw the movie was because it was at a film festival and I wanted to see the films playing against it even less! On top of that, the filmmaker, Marie Ullrich, had never written or directed a feature film. So I knew I’d hate it. Yet, amazingly…I didn’t!
The first half of the film shows a bunch of young hipster-ish bicycle messengers meeting on the Chicago streets at night for some bizarre annual competition. It’s all unofficial…and dangerous considering they are riding late at night. And, during the course of the race, they all had to do different tasks at each checkpoint…and most of these involved drinking a lot of alcohol! Again, a recipe for disaster…but somehow in the past it all worked out fine….but not this year.
The Alley Cat
Jenny Strubin, Omero Arreola, Dana Bernadine
12 February 2016
Martin's Grade: A-
Tragedy strikes….and that leads to the second half where the camera follows Jasper (Jenny Strubin). How this affects her as well as her complicated backstory is what I loved about the film as Ullrich slowly gave clues to the audience…very slowly…about what Jenny is going through and this really impressed me. Rarely have I heard so little about someone…yet be able to piece together much of what they are going through in this film.
Overall, this is a very inventive and creative picture that was absolutely riveting. It featured a very interesting cast, some amazing camera work (considering much of it’s done on bikes at night!) and makes me want to see more from these people! See this film if you can.