Updated: Aug 22, 2020
Starring: Andrew Yackel, Justin Pietropaolo, Hannah Mosqueda
Director: Andrew Gibson
Review: Klep Napier & Wade Swift
Rating: 3X’s out of 5X’s
Often times when you think of the term “indie film” you think of a few no names gathering a couple of close colleagues, up and coming and often amateur actors, on a shoestring budget, the eventual outcome or finished project usually defines the expression “you get what you pay for”. The indie road is a rough one. But somehow Gutterbug makes it look easy.
In fact, at certain points of the film we forgot we were even watching new faces. Director Andrew Gibson paints the perfect picture of rock bottom and the struggle with accepting the hand in which one has dealt themselves.
Gutterbug follows 20 year old Steven ‘Bug’ Bugsby [Andrew Yackel] who has been living on the streets for three years. Along the way he hasn’t only managed to coexist within his unfortunate situation but he has also managed to find a few toxic friends along the way. Things turn for the worst on once Bug turns 21 and decides he’s finally ready to return home.
That’s all we’re going to leave you with, because it’s so much more rewarding to go in without expectations. But here’s what we thought.
Gutterbug wins where a lot of independent films fail. The quality is not only in the writing but within the actors as well. Aspiring filmmakers could learn a lot by watching this film. You believe this story because the actors portray it well. It is both exhilarating and emotional from start to finish with an awesome, yet unconventional payoff than what we normally see in independent films. What we mean is, it’s dark but there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel unlike most indie films that sway towards a darker twist to keep their art raw and edgy. But noticed we said a “glimmer” of light.
Where it loses? Well for us, although the other key players like Justin Pietropaolo, Hannah Mosqueda and our personal favorite “Eddy” played by Billy Jinkins are strong, there are a few background characters who remind you that you're not watching a big Hollywood production. But if you’re the one paying attention to that, then maybe you just came to the wrong party.
There is however something to be said about the tone and feel of Gutterbug. It’s not afraid to keep it real but also stays on this constant ride of story telling in a unique way that will still stand out amongst films like Requirem For A Dream”, “Kids”, and “Surburbia” This is indeed a story about LIFE and how one sporadic decision can spiral you into a loop of self hate, mental illness, destructive behavior and self awareness.
Simply put, whether theatrical or video on demand, Gutterbug is worth the price of admission.