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Review: Comedic allegory 'Kill the Monsters' boisterously tweaks the American experience

Review: Comedic allegory 'Kill the Monsters' boisterously tweaks the American experience
Ryan Lonergan, from left, Jack Ball and Garrett McKechnie in the movie "Kill the Monsters." (Breaking Glass Pictures)

“Kill the Monsters” is a joyous one-off; a bold, snappy, head-spinningly clever tale of three gay New Yorkers in a polyamorous relationship who cross America in search of physical and emotional healing only to find themselves at war — with each other as well as with an international array of lesbian neighbors in their Santa Monica condo complex.

If it all sounds weirdly, grandly quirky that’s because it is. But in a good way, thanks to director-editor Ryan Lonergan’s fast-paced, fast-talking, allegorical script that purports to parallel American history from 1776 to 2017 but can just as enjoyably be taken at face value.

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Said “throuple” consists of impulsive trust-fund baby Sutton (Garrett McKechnie), neurotic motormouth Patrick (Lonergan) and the younger, more rudderless Frankie (Jack Ball), whose mysterious illness, simply identified as “malaise,” sets the elliptical, experimental story into motion.

How these men manage their uncommon relationship — functionally, financially, sexually (and there’s lots of the latter) — as well as their tricky dynamic with the movie’s powerful women is, according to the filmmaker, a reflection of democracy in action for better and, more significantly, for worse. A high-stakes poker game here deftly symbolizes how political power plays can get out of hand and ignite a vortex of conflict.

Zippy editing, cool black-and-white photography, an excitingly used classic score and whirling, kooky performances add to this deceptively brainy film’s look-at-me fun.

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‘Kill the Monsters’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 17 minutes.

Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills

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