Set against the backdrop of New York City a few years after 9/11, writer-director Joe Leonard’s How I Got Lost wants very much to be a generational statement on the particular ennui and disorientation bred by the terror attacks. But the film does little to really parse the shadows of that cataclysmic event, and the story it tells, of confused and unfulfilled lives, is not generationally specific. Andrew (Aaron Stanford) and Jake (Jacob Fishel) are best friends somewhere in their 30s who’ve come unglued from the paths they had envisioned for their lives. Andrew is an alcoholic banker and terrific fuck-up, while Jake, suffering from a broken heart, has put his dreams of being a great author on hold in favor of covering flailing sports teams for a newspaper. Andrew convinces Jake to get out of New York and take a road trip to his small hometown in Ohio. They leave to find themselves, to remember what’s been forgotten – and for another purpose, which Andrew at first keeps hidden from Jake. Beautifully shot by Christopher Chambers, who has a penchant for rack focus and an eye for the density of light at dawn and dusk, the film yearns for a profundity that’s thwarted by a script laden with lite existentialism and blatant symbolism (“Where the fuck are we?” “I don’t know.” “You don’t know!” “I wasn’t paying attention”). The often slack pacing also drags the material down, yet Stanford’s acrid and desperate performance gives momentum to the unfolding events.
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