For me, Cam Archer‘s Shit Year is a stew of pretentious monochrome murk. It’s one of those narrative-defying, interior landscape art-wanks that younger directors sometimes make in order to get the attention of the art-wank crowd — producers, other directors, art-gallery owners and journalists who delight in embracing difficult fare.

Luke Grimes, Ellen Barkin in Cam Archer’s Shit Year.

It seems to be an attempt to live in the misty, disoriented head of an older retired actress (Ellen Barkin) as she…well, as she does very little. Is having an affair with a good-looking 20something actor (Luke Grimes) of any interest or consequence? Is submitting to some form of new-age bullshit therapy of any interest or consequence? And what about the dead rat she finds outside her cabin? (“I’m not picking that up!”) And what’s with that constant whine of a nearby wood-chipper?

I don’t know. I’m not sure that I care. I’m feeling a bit misty and murky-minded. I guess it’s catching.

The first couple of walk-outs happened about 15 minutes in. People weren’t soon walking out in droves, but they did continue body by body. Some, I noticed, decided to take naps. Myself among them, to be perfectly frank. When I woke up I noticed that Roger Friedman, who’d been sitting across the aisle, had left. So had several others. So I stuck it out for another 15 or 20 minutes, and then I slipped out myself.

This movie needs a friend. It needs a mother. It needs a psychotherapist. It needs a job, or at least (like Barkin’s listless character) a sense of purpose. It needs to rob a bank or maybe get into a foot race through a construction site, or…whatever, take some kind of mood-elevating medication. All I know for sure is that Shit Year is a fizzle and a drizzle.

I’m now sitting in the Grand Lumiere and waiting for Woody Allen‘s You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger to begin. I can’t wait for the new juice.