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SXSW Snapshot: Dia Sokol's "Sorry, Thanks"

Photo of Eric Kohn By Eric Kohn | Indiewire March 16, 2009 at 3:2AM

Dia Sokol's "Sorry, Thanks" has such keen insight into human behavior that its accuracy almost seems like pure luck. Based around the confused, occasionally self-destructive behavior of several young people in San Francisco's Mission District, it deals with relationship issues and wandering youth disillusionment through lightly engaging scenes that gradually develop a dramatic edge. Charismatic Max (Wiley Wiggins) grows confused about his relationship with his steady girlfriend (Ia Hernandez) when the thoughtful Kira (Kenya Miles) makes subtle advances on him. Meanwhile, Max fends off the tough love of his hyperactive friend Mason (Andrew Bujalski, a great source of comic relief) and everyone pontificates about their relative places in the mad dash for job security and personal contentment.
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Dia Sokol's "Sorry, Thanks" has such keen insight into human behavior that its accuracy almost seems like pure luck. Based around the confused, occasionally self-destructive behavior of several young people in San Francisco's Mission District, it deals with relationship issues and wandering youth disillusionment through lightly engaging scenes that gradually develop a dramatic edge. Charismatic Max (Wiley Wiggins) grows confused about his relationship with his steady girlfriend (Ia Hernandez) when the thoughtful Kira (Kenya Miles) makes subtle advances on him. Meanwhile, Max fends off the tough love of his hyperactive friend Mason (Andrew Bujalski, a great source of comic relief) and everyone pontificates about their relative places in the mad dash for job security and personal contentment.

If that makes it sounds like an entry in a certain non-existence movement that starts with an M-word, let me stop you right there. "Sorry, Thanks" has a wonderfully coherent structure, fully developed personalities and mostly gorgeous photography (although I could do without the handheld stuff, which rarely comes across as anything but laziness). The script, by Sokol and Lauren Veloski, should circulate among Hollywood studios looking break that awful "bromance" formula. "Sorry, Thanks" does not need such uninspired bricks of concept to make you care about its subjects, but it still has a cogent structure. I am enamored of its ending, which avoids any neat conclusions while achieving a stunning finality.