Seattle Cinema

SIFF 2019 Review Roundup May 22–28

Four more locally grown movies premiere this week—plus a suite of short films.

By Seattle Met Staff May 22, 2019

Patrinell: The Total Experience, about local gospel luminary Patrinell Wright, premieres on May 26 at the Egyptian. 

Image: Courtesy SIFF

We Take the Low Road
A new WikiLeak exposes grim corroboration between the medical industry and government and names some of the worst offenders. So a son—who’s just lost his father to cancer after an insurance lapse—hatches a plan with a couple partners to kill a medical profiteer and clean out his safe. Quickly, things go awry and the waters of supposedly righteous vigilantism muddy. This thriller, shot in eastern Washington, is one of the only I’ve seen that really captures that landscape’s raw, torn beauty. But that isn’t enough to save Low Road from its increasingly scattered tone, which veers from ominous to sentimental to weirdly cavalier. May 23 & May 25, SIFF Cinema Uptown, $11–$15 —Stefan Milne

Enormous: The Gorge Story
Before it became home to some of Washington state’s largest music festivals including Watershed, Paradiso, and the now retired Sasquatch, the Gorge was built on the grounds of a small, family-owned vineyard to entertain wine-drinking family friends. Weaving together interviews from the likes of Jason Mraz, Dave Matthews, and fans, Enormous recounts the venue's 39-year history. Complete with on-site performances, breathtaking views, and personal anecdotes, the documentary is a feel-good tribute to a Washington landmark. May 25, SIFF Cinema Uptown; May 28, Lincoln Square, $15 —Lily Hansen

Patrinell: The Total Experience
Set to a soul-stirring soundtrack, accompanied by personal photos and vintage home videos, this documentary tells the story of Seattle’s First Lady of Gospel, Patrinell Wright. She turned her Total Experience Gospel Choir into a city institution with both an iron fist and amazing grace. But under the surface lies a somber tale: Gentrification has decimated the black population in the Central District to well under 20 percent. That neighborhood was once Seattle’s epicenter of black arts and culture, and the choir flourished and crumbled with it; after 45 years, Total Experience has disbanded. Directors Andrew Elizaga and Tia Young have created an aching memorial for those who remember the old Central District and, for everyone else, a time capsule worth opening. May 26, SIFF Cinema Egyptian; May 27, SIFF Cinema Uptown, $15 —Gennette Cordova

Fight Fam
Fight Fam follows Issaquah-based couple Amy and Dex Montenegro as they work to establish themselves as professional MMA fighters while raising their three daughters. The documentary looks at the couple’s lives: how they met, their first date (at a Subway), and how they support each other’s dreams and careers as fighters. While the short documentary isn’t particularly groundbreaking, it does offer insight into the demanding world of mixed martial arts. And it culminates with a thrill when Amy steps into the ring for her first professional Invicta FC competition against Brianna “The Bull” Van Buren. May 28, AMC Pacific Place; May 29, SIFF Cinema Uptown, $11–$15 —LH

Destination Northwest
While all nine shorts in this regional showcase weren't available for pre-screening, the two I've watched are worth a visit. "No More White Women" is a comic rundown of microaggressions a black man deals with when dating white women, until the pattern swerves in a final scene. In "Dreamcatcher," an old Native woman looks back on life, but this plays as a surreal imagistic stream, a poem of memory, rather like a Terrence Malick trailer—which, at this point, are the best things Terrence Malick makes. May 27, SIFF Cinema Uptown, $11 —SM

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