Have you ever watched a film that felt so raw and genuine that you mistook it for a documentary and something real? Writer-director-star Samuel Kay Forrest is ready to take audiences on quite a journey into the life of a person lost and searching for themselves. Forrest’s new film, HipBeat, is a powerful and engrossing character study that features Angus, someone who is strong in their beliefs and vulnerable in their identity. Are you ready to be taken on an unexpected journey?
What makes HipBeat standout as a drama in a saturated market of films? From the start of the film, the visuals of the film feel real…like incredibly real. I legitimately thought the film was a documentary to start. The camerawork is so intimate and intrusive that you feel in the thick of it with Angus. He navigates a large protest full of anarchists as Forrest narrates as Angus who professes his deep desires and outlook on life. Angus is an aggressive soul with a harass outlook on life. But his journey in this film is much deeper and intimate. Forrest can draw the audience in with a moving and raw presentation of this journey.
How does Forrest help flesh out Angus’ journey throughout this film? From a directing standpoint, he brings the camera deep into every moment. The audience is brought into plenty of moments that show Angus’ vulnerability and their most intimate moments. Whether they are sexual escapades or much more personal moments with a partner, Forrest fleshes out these character moments in his screenplay. One moment between Angus and their partner is the real emotional lightning rod of the film. There is a lot more to Angus then you might think, and the film does such a great job at painting them that way.
But is Forrest’s direction and writing enough? What does he bring to the table from an acting perspective? Angus, as discussed before, is a layered and complex character. Strict and assertive political thoughts overshadow a need to explore oneself and Forrest can nail every second. His performance elevates a screenplay that is a bit shaky and uneven. There are moments that feel like they drag or do not fully draw you in but that is by no fault of Forrest’s performance. The women that fill out the supporting roles (including Beatrix Michelet and Andriana Manfredi) help flesh out the story with their committed performances.
Forrest balances triple duty on HipBeat but does it all payoff in a meaningful way? This drama is an unexpected experience with plenty of reveals that work from a narrative standpoint and from an emotional perspective. I felt so much for Angus watching and the connection this film building is quite poignant. Do yourself a favor and seek out HipBeat, it is worth your time.