I Am That Image

I Am That

By Bobby LePire | September 1, 2020

Respect, because I Am That commits to this strange Alice In Wonderland riff, even when it does not totally work, but more on that in a bit. At the free-thinkers’ meeting, Marzec employs a split-screen method and has the main speaker espousing philosophy in four different sections, while dressed up as the famous people who said these things. This moment is amusing and creative, and one of the most interesting parts of the film.

The actors are all good, though Sage Owens, at times, is maybe trying a bit too hard. Still, he shares an easygoing chemistry with his co-stars and plays his character’s belief that he is a samurai to perfection. Scammell has a tricky role, as a lot of what Tamas does could turn the audience off. But Scammell is charming enough never to lose their investment. But this is the Amielynn Abellera show, and she’s fantastic. Her questioning her faith due to the loss makes sense, as does the reason she became so devoted in the first place. After stepping on some glass, Skylar realizes she needs to get some shoes for her feet. Having no money, with Mickey’s help, she steals a pair. The way Abellera plays the no-nonsense decision and still blames herself for sinning is sheer perfection.

“…an excellent way to tell the audience how she’s feeling without resorting to needless exposition.”

While the dialogue remains funny and the style never waivers throughout, some scenes prove to be entirely unnecessary. Shortly after meeting Tamas, Mickey’s bag falls into the river. It does not add much tension or drama to the proceedings, meaning it is only filler. Later on, Mickey and Skylar meet three women, scammers all of them, who seemingly offer them free food and a bed for the night. But, then they charge them the next day, humiliate Skylar, and are the most obnoxious people one can imagine. Nothing about these scenes work makes sense, is fun, or even amusing in a cringe-y. It really slows down the momentum, and it takes I Am That several minutes after to regain its footing.

Plus, some of the editing seems abrupt. Skylar is at the church, then the next scene, she’s in a hotel (?) talking to Tamas. Did I blink and miss something? What is going on here? At first, I almost thought it was what Skylar was imagining was happening, as she’s seeking some proper closure in her mind (a big theme here). But, it really is the next scene, and I have no idea how the movie got there.

I Am That is not a perfect film, but it is an excellent first film. Joy Marzec’s debut is audacious, vibrant, energetic, thought-provoking, and very ambitious. While not everything works, as some scenes are just filler and pad out the 105-minute runtime, the movie’s cast and its dedication to style make it worth watching at least once. But definitely look out for Marzec’s next film, which has great potential based on what’s seen here.

I Am That (2020)

Directed and Written: Joy Marzec

Starring: Amielynn Abellera, Sage Owens, Matteo Jones Scammell, Jane Jones, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

I Am That Image

"…any movie that begins with a nun flogging herself...set to a punk rock guitar riff, immediately grabs my attention."

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