Murder She Said
Writer-director Lawrence Michael Levine’s Wild Canaries opens with an iris effect, a technique dating back to the silent and early Hollywood eras, often used to announce, punctuate, or bookend scenes. What at first blush appears an anachronistic visual flourish, however, in fact announces a story operating in a state of hyper-cinematic reality. In short order we’ll sample a variety of other sight gags, exaggerated music cues, and situational comedy configurations confirming the director’s allegiance to cinema’s farcical and fantastical capacities. Levine, emblematic of an exciting new generation of low-budget New York filmmakers, appears uncommonly attuned to the tenets and traditions of a bygone age of comedic storytelling, a stylistic philosophy rooted in Frank Capra and Preston Sturges yet inherited from such descendants as Blake Edwards and Woody Allen. In the spirit of its forebears, Wild Canaries is gleefully antiquated, a fully dedicated neo-screwball effort as inventively constructed and effervescently acted as any modern genre exercise.