A tale of friendship, joy, frustration and betrayal Junk embodies everything that can be drawn from a collaborative and creative process. Former friends Kaveh and Raul are reluctantly drawn back together when their B-movie flick Islama-rama 2: Mustafa Lives is entered into a small-time film festival attended by their hero Yukio Tai (James Hong). Hilarity ensures as they compete with other equally quirky film-makers for the chance to pitch their next film to the king of B-movies.
Poking fun at film festivals and fledgling film-makers in way that says we understand; it’s the close relationship with his material that makes Kevin Hamedami’s film so appealing. Junk has some very funny moments, and some less than funny moments and walks the line between humour and cringe; but strong performances from its stars Kevin Hamedani and Ramen Isao, an equally strong supporting cast and some unexpected cameos push it over the line to humour and make a very entertaining picture. The on screen connection between Kaveh (Hamedani) and Raul (Isao) is unmistakable and their friendship easily transferable. The best moments in this film are when imagination comes to life. Their fantasies are portrayed in their B-movie glory complete with the appropriately high levels of over-acting.
As a film Junk was captivating, relatable and fully deserving of the recognition it has received. It is a success in creativity and satire but yet I don’t expect it to be a great success. It will be loved by film-makers and film lovers everywhere and discarded everyone else. Some aspects of the film don’t work. I wasn’t convinced about the role of drugs in the film or why marijuana leaf holds such a significant place in the artwork and the humour won’t appeal to a mass audience. Certain scenes , particularly one featuring a white blues singer describing her fight for emancipation will leave you wondering what on earth you’ve just watched but it is all a part of this film and is part of the reason I think Junk will be an underground success.
Known for his outlandish film plots including Zombies of Mass Destruction which tells the story of a gay man coming out to his zombie mother Kevin Hamedami who co-wrote, directed and starred in this film has given himself a strong platform to build upon. Despite rejections from the larger film festivals Junk demonstrates his ability as a multi-faceted filmmaker and actor. Despite the relatively low budget Junk has Hemedami displays an unquestionable skill in communicating basic human relationships and it is exciting to consider the prospects should he be graced as Kaveh was with the chance to bring his next vision to life; though I for one sincerely hope it isn’t Islama-rama 3.
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