'Marfa Girl 2': Film Review
Larry Clark's sequel to his little-seen 2012 drama further explores the lives of the sex-obsessed residents of a small Texas town.
If filmmaker Larry Clark was intent on capturing the aimlessness and tedium of the lives of people living in the middle of nowhere, he's succeeded all too well in his latest effort. A sequel to Marfa Girl, his 2012 film which virtually no one saw, the unimaginatively titled Marfa Girl 2 demonstrates that the now 75-year-old provocateur has long since lost the artistic mojo that propelled his photography book Tulsa and Teenage Lust and such attention-getting films as Kids and Bully. It's now painfully evident that the emperor has no clothes, which is something that can also frequently be said of his castmembers.
Shot in the same Texas town that served as the location for the 1956 classic Giant (no need to guess about which film local authorities will boast a connection), this woeful effort chronicles the misadventures of several characters from its predecessor. Although "misadventures" might be too strong a word, since virtually nothing of interest happens in this one, save for two shocking acts of violence at the conclusion that feel wholly unearned in dramatic terms.
Once again, we're forced to make the acquaintance of such nondescript figures as Adam (Adam Mediano), a young Latino slacker who is inexplicably the town's resident sex symbol and apparently irresistible to women; Inez (Mercedes Maxwell), his live-in lover; and "Marfa Girl" (Drake Burnette), now the mother of a baby boy as the result of a brutal rape she suffered in the first film. Suffice it to say that none of the characters say or do anything remotely interesting. Except have sex with each other, which they do as often as possible.
Clark makes his licentious intentions clear with the female nudity in the very first frames of the film. But he's an equal opportunity semi-pornographer, lavishing much attention on male genitalia as well (as usual, it ain't pretty). "Sex is just another way of communication," Marfa Girl says early on, and if you follow that logic, these characters are very, very communicative. The frequently profane dialogue includes a lesson about the clitoris so detailed it's as if we're expected to take notes, and a long, rapturous description of Adam's lovemaking prowess (cruder language is used), with a particular emphasis on his skills at oral sex. Of course, we don't have to take any character's word for it, since the explicit and quite real sex depicted onscreen tells a thousand words.
A good chunk of the film seems to have been cut, with its original listed running time of 106 minutes now down to a mere 77. But it still seems endless, and the editing may account for the choppiness of the narrative. It doesn't help that the mostly non-professional performers prove unable to make their thinly written characters compelling, with much of their rambling discourse smacking of uninspired improvisation.
Considering Clark's extensive photographic experience, it's not surprising that the film at least looks good. Cinematographer David Newbert provides striking compositions of the bleak Texas landscapes during the few times he's not focusing his camera on the unclothed bodies of the performers. Amazingly, Marfa Girl 2 doesn't even manage to be arousing, despite all the onscreen sex. Then again, it's difficult to get excited when you're struggling to stay awake.
Production company: Marfa Girl 2
Distributor: Breaking Glass Pictures
Cast: Adam Mediano, Drake Burnette, Jeremy St. James, Mary Farley, Mercedes Maxwell, Indio Rael
Director-screenwriter: Larry Clark
Producer: Adam Sherman
Director of photography: David Newbert
Production designer: Lauren Evans
Editor: Affonso Goncalves
Composer: Bobby Johnson