• 27 Jun - 03 Jul, 2020
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Reviews

The good news is that there's a terrific movie available on demand about a young couple who fall in love, embark on a life of crime and become social media sensations in the process.

The bad news for Infamous, starring Bella Thorne, is that the terrific movie is 2019's Queen & Slim.

Suffering from poor timing that will inevitably produce a sense of déjà vu for many viewers, Infamous doesn't really bring anything new or interesting to its subject, although there is an important difference (among several) between the two films. The protagonists of Queen & Slim didn't look for attention; rather, it came to them via systemic racism. The antiheroes in Joshua Caldwell's thriller actively seek it out. Or at least one of them does: Arielle (Thorne), who measures her life by how many followers, shares and likes she garners on social media.

Arielle first discovers that violence can boost one's online profile after she gets into a fight with a girl at a club and the resulting footage significantly ups her profile. So she's clearly ready to become an enthusiastic Bonnie to the reluctant Clyde of Dean (Jake Manley), a young and hunky ex-con with whom she forms an instant romantic connection.

After Dean accidentally kills his abusive father during a fight, the couple take it on the lam, intent on driving from southern Florida to the West Coast. They rob a convenience store to finance their journey, and when Arielle posts the footage online and finds out that she's become an internet sensation she becomes excited.

Cue the ensuing robbing and killing spree as the couple make their way across rural America. Arielle live-streams footage of their criminal activities along the way, becoming more assertive during their robberies and eagerly embracing her newfound notoriety. She also needs to procure a gun to keep up with Dean, which they find by looking up firearms for sale on a library computer.

Director-screenwriter Caldwell certainly keeps the pace moving fast enough, and the sun-drenched visuals are easy on the eyes. Manley underplays to good effect, while the charismatic Thorne, whom the camera seems to leer at obsessively, eagerly throws herself into her character's wild-eyed exuberance. But no matter how hard she tries, there's no escaping the feeling that we've seen this all before, and done much better.

– Compilation