Max Aguiar’s sophomore feature-length film, Veneer, follows drug dealer— cocaine specifically—Dominic (Logan Diemert), and his friends, Blondie (Anna Lindström) and John (Alex Pace), as they go about their daily lives, preparing for a big event. And that is really all there is to the movie. The viewer just follows these odd people for a gloriously strange yet utterly delightful 87-minute odyssey to… well, you’ll see.
How weird are Dominic, Blondie, and John? Well, for sustenance, they eat fries and ice cream at the same time. They do literal mounds of cocaine, sometimes sprinkled with some brown sugar (or something like that). The friends all talk like they learned English from bad movies. It is all so bizarre yet charming, and everyone involved in the production of Veneer hit the perfect tone, so it is all absolutely hilarious.
“Dominic, and his friends Blondie and John…go about their daily lives, preparing for a big event.”
Diemert, who co-wrote the motion picture with Aguiar, is a revelation as the cocaine selling Dominic. His dedication to the part can easily be seen by the way he moves and holds himself. There’s something about it that just seems off. The physicality of the role, of all three main parts actually, is subtle, therefore not always noticeable, but it demands a lot. And they all deliver in a big way. The chemistry between Diemert, Lindström, and Pace is excellent, and their commitment to the story, tone, and performances is on full display at all times.
With Veneer, Aguiar proves that he had one of the most critical aspects of helming an independent film— a unique, idiosyncratic vision and the drive to make it a reality. While a few scenes, chiefly those that take place in a car, are poorly blocked and filmed, the rest of the movie looks very good. There’s a shot where Blondie is looking into a mirror and simply smiles at how she appears. No dialogue, nothing muttered under her breath. The lighting, music, and the way Lindström holds herself convey everything you need to know about how she’s feeling. Car shots aside, the entire film is just as well directed.
"…joyously revere humans' brief time on this planet."