Existing on a precipice between its police-procedural grittiness and the fantastical digressions of its local mythology, Interchange is an anomaly with a failure to delineate these worlds from one another or to give exposition to their coexistence, making its investigative trip to mystic territory obtuse at best.
It should be emphasized that the elements corralled together are strong in their own rights, and if Kurosawa could have shored up the dragging run time necessary to cover his juxtapositions, Before We Vanish could have been a much more promising endeavor.
Either from the often strikingly intimate handheld shots or his script, which bleeds unfiltered affection for his characters and the night-soaked streets of Berkeley, Quest is uncomplicated humanism that plays equally to the people at the front row as well as those at the back of theater.
With his camera at hand and a burning human to point it on, the most the film gets out of its subjects is an ill-advised, one-sided conversation where black residents and “woke” allies point to clear-cut racism and the folksy residents shrug their shoulders and deflect.
There is the potential for a moving tragicomic exercise in the Jan Lewan story, but sadly the latest Netflix feature settles for a middling goofball romp that has a few smiles but little staying power.