Anywhere, USA Chusy Haney-Jardine

Anywhere, USA Chusy Haney-Jardine
When Anywhere, USA opens, a voiceover advises us that inside is where you look when you're tired of looking outside. To expand, the metaphor is about psychic insularity and finding security within self-imposed confines, or growing fond of one's cage due to cyclic patterns of human behaviour and the supposed ignorance associated with internalization, as it were. Transposed onto the meat-and-potatos, white trash American public, writer/director Chusy Haney-Jardine suggests that what maintains this status quo is a generalized psychology of being "sentenced to a life of penance, financed by loss and guaranteed through ignorance," then attempts to prove this thesis by dividing his film into three segments detailing each condition. The initial section ("Penance") is also the most successful, having a trailer park couple spar after a handlebar-moustached man finds his goth girlfriend eating pistachios – the nut of the Jihad – and looking up pictures of dicks on the internet. The ensuing racism and terrorist assumptions go a little overboard, but the attention to middle-American detail, such as drinking soda directly from a two-litre bottle or a couple romantically giving each other supers, is actually quite hilarious when juxtaposed with an unnecessarily verbose voiceover and on screen titles like, "Love is like a ruler." But because of the specifically satirical tone of this section the next one ("Loss") never works, reaching for a more dramatic effect amidst the crass American minutiae while a little girl struggles with the knowledge that the Tooth Fairy doesn't exist. It's also here where pacing becomes a severe issue, as each shot is composed with the same lacklustre framing that struggles find the intensity of the moment. Resultantly, the third act ("Ignorance"), which details an older, successful man's attempt to befriend a black person, just drags on despite having some amusing observations about strained political correctness and misguided cultural assumptions. Although the preliminary thesis of cyclic ignorance is quite astute, the ensuing examples fail to prove much of anything beyond the notion of delusion as social retardant. It's important to note that this is a first-time director working on an extremely low budget, which makes the fleeting moments of wisdom and hilarity more impressive than they might be otherwise. Included with the DVD is a commentary track and "making of," which mostly features a somewhat supercilious Chusy answering questions about motivation, inspiration and the backgrounds of his non-professional actors. (Cinevolve)