Exploring themes such as American consumerism and the enfant terrible culture of young and modern Chicago, Schizcago centers around a familiar quartet of characters that exist within the broader stylistic spectrum that is the bicycle-riding, consistently-unemployed gaggle of the smarter-than-thou and cultured peasant phenomenon, pejoratively known as the hipster.
In this dissection of what the term means — not only to the clandestine but also the corporate — Director Ben Kolak along with co-writer and producer Rachel Wolther create a comedy that is both visually and verbally engaging. Sharp quips full of pragmatic social commentary delight this fast-paced and scarily accurate portrayal of the current state of the city.
Angeline Gragasin plays Lacey who works as the movie’s anti-hero and written in a believable candor. She plays the role with such ease and dominance that one might wonder if she was just playing herself (however, I’m sure she’s a much nicer girl than Lacey is and probably much more responsible). Ricardo Gamboa plays the hyperactively authentic (as in, continues to ride a bicycle while his corporate counterparts drive otherworldly portals — yes, a car is a doorway into another realm for some — made of what could easily be rare metals housing combustible engines) Morris.
When Morris first arrived on screen, I was a bit weary at the velocity in which he presented the character, but it didn’t take long for it to come together. The relationship between Sandy Bitchez and Renee (played by Christina Nieves and Molly Plunk respectively) is a bit haphazard and unhealthy in some ways to the image of homosexual relationships. However, it is still very much an assembly of blaggards all-around.The individual portrayals of these two were extraordinary, with a toss-up between them as my favorite characters.
The movie employed a lot of different tactics which could classify it as more of a multimedia art piece rather than a film, but all the elements are there. The party scenes (which judging by the culture these characters live in, you can tell there are plenty) are some of the most accurate depictions of the different types of people you run into in. The conversations people were submerged in employed veritable arguments and counterarguments as well as the verbs people do at parties such as drinking games and entertainment; complete déjà vu at certain angles.
One aspect I also found tremendously executed was the clothing. This might seem to be an accessory commentary about film, but costume is generally one of those things you have to get right or else you’ve got Helena Bonham Carter dressed as the Fonz on a rowboat with Daniel Day Lewis dressed like a Maori warrior, and that’s a bit random for period pieces, you see? The wardrobe in this movie was not only spot on but was definitive of the mood and personality of each character. You could tell who was the corporate bully versus the pretentious bully. It was also very telling of its time and a significant snapshot of the first year of the decade and the last year of the last.
Many scenes such as the boom and bust economies of culinary fashion to the fact that Cubs fans can be a lot more detrimental to a community than gang members reek of extant Chicagoan opinion. The film does make a broader approach to comment on drug companies, the spoiled brats of the Barney generation, employment and the misguided attempts by capitalist overlords to engage a pseudo-authenticity (and even more misguided attempts at maintaining aggressively au courant lifestyle). However, one cannot shed the Chicagoan light that shines so vividly and honestly in a way that a movie set in New York might exploit its surroundings. Visual media that are set in Chicago often use the city exclusively as a backdrop, a travesty which pisses this writer off. A movie like this comes around and makes it a point to inject the city as a character itself. In truth, Chicago becomes the main character, for if it were not for Chicago, none of this could have happened.