review by Gregory Avery, 14 July 2000
At first, Greg Harrison's film Groove
flickers and fibrillates and looks like it's barely going to be able
to stay on the screen for ninety minutes. But stick with it, for it
has a way of growing on you.
Taking place during a
hastily-organized rave (if it wasn't hastily organized, it wouldn't
be one) over the course of one late night and early morning in San
Francisco, the story follows several characters as they attempt to
follow changing instructions on how to get there, while others try
to hold the event together and keep the police from snooping around.
Once everybody gets there, they loosen up, shake themselves and feel
good. They also hug each other, draw pictures or write words on each
other with ink that glows under black light, promote love and
understanding -- gee, this sounds familiar. It may be retro, but the
characters' promotion of an innocent sort of fun and enjoyment is
part of the film's ultimate charm.
As is the music (supplied by
several real-life dance D.J.'s, including Forest Green and John
Digweed), and the subplot involving David (Hamish Linklater), a
writer newly arrived in the City, and Leyla (Lola Glaudini), an
office worker who is a veteran of the rave scene. They meet, they
fall for each other, and you see the whole arc of their newly formed
relationship -- from mutual conviviality to trepidation over change
to realizing they don't want to lose a good thing, and what'll they
do if they did -- unfold on the screen. It's very satisfying, and
Harrison, who edited the film along with writing and directing it,
achieves one extraordinary moment, the equivalent to what one
character describes as when one shakes off the doldrums of everyday
existence and becomes aware of being simply "alive" for
once. The movie never comes close to turning into the Thank God
It's Friday of rave.
Steve Van Wormer