Lost in a Crowd
Review by Mark Schwab
Sometimes you just have no idea how bad a night out fueled by drugs and bad influences can go. And yet, when you look back on it, all of the pieces were right there to be put together into a perfect puzzle of disaster and misery. Micah Cohen's independent feature Lost in a Crowd visualizes this theory in some surprising ways as friends Ethan, Coles, Jaylen and Luther start off the evening at a typical house party and end up boxing themselves into some very serious corners.
Sitting down to watch Lost in a Crowd, I was somewhat fidgety during the first fifteen minutes or so. It seemed like Bret Easton Ellis lite, with the main characters drawn as the usual animated mannequins you meet in L.A. trying to pose as human beings while vacuuming up line after line of cocaine. Even worse, it seemed like the more coke they snorted, the more boring they were becoming.
But then Cohen and his cast (who supposedly improvised a lot of their dialogue) get into gear and the movie starts to work well. Very well in fact. I'm certainly not going to give much away here since Director Cohen has some quick turns in his story. Turns that you won't see coming and yet are believable in hindsight. Let's just say things go from dark to darkest as soon as our lead character Ethan takes home a girl from the party he reluctantly attends.
The characters are drawn sharply, perfectly getting the whole exhasted been-in-LA-too-long-without-enough-happening vibe. A particular standout though is Gary Cairns as the mysterious and very creepy Luther. It's a testament to Cairns that even though he plays a very dangerous character, I was riveted every time he spoke on screen. Cairns is certainly a screen presence to watch. But the entire cast is believable and Micah Cohen keeps things moving and in control even as the events begin spiraling down into an abyss. Production values are solid throughout and it avoids the whole mumblecore/improv problem just fine, with none of the dialogue feeling padded or desperate to keep things interesting.
Maybe Lost in a Crowd doesn't tread a whole lot of new ground in the end but it is an engrossing drama with solid performances (and one great one by Cairns) and very capable filmmaking. If you see Micah Cohen's name on a movie poster, make a point to check it out in a theatre. This guy certainly has some indie filmmaking skills.