A road trip movie mixed with teen rebellion and a life of crime. On paper, Infamous is a film I’d probably laugh at, but damn did I have fun watching it.
When I initially saw the trailer for Infamous I was impressed by the gorgeous visuals – and the film itself does not disappoint. There’s a lot happening in the film, but the standout segments are the montages of Arielle and Dean together. Be it falling in love or holding up cannabis dispensaries, this is where directors Joshua Caldwell’s visual style really shines. He’s able to capture the youthfulness of Arielle’s character and the whole film looks like it could have been filtered through an Instagram lens. Even with the highly visual cues and various montages, Caldwell is also able to keep the pace moving and it’s hard to feel bored, especially after Arielle takes a dark turn.
Bored teen Arielle dreams of escaping her dead-end town in Florida and be someone, be important. When an accident forces her and her boyfriend Dean to go on the run, the pair turn to crime to make money for their road trip to Hollywood. To be quite honest, it is a really laughable plot – girl wants to be famous so much that she posts all her crimes on social media. But it works and works well. When Arielle becomes obsessed with bigger scores, bigger crimes, bigger follower numbers, it’s easy to see her losing her grip with reality, and when the police chases start, they’re great to watch. Trying to explain the plot and why I enjoyed it makes me laugh, but I really did enjoy it.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Bella Thorne is excellent in the lead role of Arielle. She carries the film, and if I’m not mistaken, is in every scene. Whilst knowing little about Thorne’s personal life, I have seen the odd headline about her wild child ex-Disney star ways, and like Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens before her, Infamous seems to be her Spring Breakers. And believe me, it really suits her. Her chemistry with Jake Manley’s Dean is brilliant, and they are able to counter charm, infatuation, and irritation between each other easily. There’s a very random section involving a character played by Glee’s Amber Riley which does work but had me questioning why it was really there – I’m not sure I got the message I was meant to from the relationship that develops between Riley and the outlaws.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
"...Infamous is a bubble-gum filled hybrid of Bonnie and Clyde..."
Infamous (2020) | VOD
Infamous is such a beautiful film that owes much to Spring Breakers in its design of Arielle. It has a music video aesthetic throughout, especially in the driving scenes, and I was envious of their characters at times as they are able to make them just look cool without it feeling forced. I’d have followed them on social media for the neon wigs alone. So much of this feels down to make-up and costume designers, Candie Renee and Jillian Bundrick respectively, but all of the production design crew have done brilliant work.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Every song in Infamous hits perfectly. I’ve been trying to find the soundtrack on Spotify since watching the film earlier this week as it’s able to really push the manic-ness of Arielle’s plan and the ecstasy of their exploits to the next level.
Infamous is a bubble-gum filled hybrid of Bonnie and Clyde, Spring Breakers, and GTA. There are a lot of issues with its portrayal of violence as a video game, and I’m not entirely sure it’s clear on its overall message regarding celebrity. Despite this, I couldn’t stop myself enjoying every second, it felt like delicious candy.