Ivy Richmond Sears ’19 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Hunter Gatherer is Joshua Locy‘s debut film and stars Andre Royo as Ashley, a middle-aged black man who has just returned home from prison. Ashley is a misguided romantic, who believes his life will be exactly the same upon his return, despite having made no effort to maintain his former relationships. After arriving home, Ashley soon learns that the love of his life and long-term girlfriend, Linda (Ashley Wilkerson), has moved on from him after claiming he never wrote to her while in prison. With the help of a new friend, Jeremy (George Sample III), a kind, yet simpleminded man, Ashley embarks on a plan to win Linda back, as well as make money. His plan is two-fold: get old refrigerators and learn to write cursive.
Hunter Gatherer is, at its heart, a simple film about what it’s like to be a lower-class African American living today. It shows a group of people simply trying to live their best lives. For Ashley, this means trying to make money and learn to write in cursive, a skill he never had the chance to master. For Jeremy, it means being a medical test subject to earn enough money to keep his grandfather alive. While this reality isn’t always pretty, it is always truthful. It is a film about trying to be happy no matter what life has dealt you.
Joshua Locy, who is a white man, directs Hunter Gatherer with a certain finesse. The film stays respectful and honest when dealing with the difficult subject matter, while also continuing to be fun and witty. You enjoy watching these characters, even when your heart wants to break for them. Each character is complete. Their struggles are believable, and their motivations real. Whether you have personally experienced their pain or not, everyone will be able to find something relatable in this film.
Hunter Gatherer is an independent film and definitely feels like it. The crew does a wonderful job, but the film does feel low budget. You can tell that it is filmed on location with minimal equipment and crew. While this isn’t too distracting, it does feel like any other indie film out there.
Yet, in some ways, there is a brilliance to the indie model, as overdone as it may be. The low budget nature helps to immerse the audience even more in Ashley’s low-income story. Just know that if you don’t like indies, this isn’t the film for you.
While Hunter Gatherer does have its problems, it’s worth seeing. The story is fresh and extremely important. It shows Black America as it truly is, a place with real financial problems, not the crime infested and violent place many people believe. See Hunter Gatherer because it’s important, but enjoy it because it’s fun and entertaining.
Overall Grade: B
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