Movie Review : Bango (2017)
There's not a lot of movies about married people. I mean, there are married people featured as support characters or comedic relief, but love and marriage are underdeveloped narrative themes. Characters to fall in love usually can't get to each other for reason X, Y or Z and whenever they do, the movie ends. That's why I was intrigued by Eric Shapiro's short film Bango, which not only feature a married couple for protagonists, but not in the romantic setting you might expect.
Bango is the story of Aaron and Sam, respectively husband and wife, who bring a young woman named Chris home to have a threesome. They're both pretty nervous, Aaron keeps pouring wine and Sam can't stop giggling at her guest. Something's off about the party, but Chris isn't able to pinpoint exactly what. She understands what she was brought along for, but when her head starts spinning a little too much, she starts thinking there are further motives explaining her presence. And no, it's not what you think.
So, what's impressive about Bango is that is plays with stereotypes. It walks a fine grey line between the certitudes in builds for its audience and manages to remain somewhat allegorical throughout. Eric Shapiro and screenwriter Comika Hartford (who plays Sam in the movie) never really misdirect you, but tell a story in margin of what your expectations develop to be. I'm sure you're expecting either Aaron or Sam to have drugged the wine in order to either rape or kill Chris from what I've told you, but it's not what happens at all. The reality lies halfway between a bedroom farce and a Twilight Zone episode.
I know what you're thinking: Ben, why should I watch a twelve minutes film from an unknown director when I could watch.. I don't know, the new Star Wars? Well, first of all, Eric Shapiro is not a total unknown. Also, when you watch many movies, there is a formula fatigue settling in. Short films are great to challenge that and Bango kept me on my feet, guessing and dodging unexpected twists at an intense pace for its entire duration. It relies on great screenwriting and delivery to makes its point is very little time. Give it a chance, it's not like it's going to break your wallet or anything. Then you can go back to the likes of Star Wars and demand a little more out of them.