The Last Exodus of American Men
Angry young men beating their chests and purging their violent, deep-rooted demons; unnecessary multimedia tricks injected at random intervals; design furnishings from the Salvation Army. The Last Exodus of American Men boasts so many Chicago-performance clichés you half-expect an obese comedian to show up and overdose. But while you certainly shouldn’t pay money to see this rookie debut, you can rest assured that young talent continues to percolate far from the Loop (where it’s safest for all involved). As outlandish as everything about Last Exodus is—script, direction and design all induce head-scratching WTFs—this ship without a captain still has a game and resourceful crew.
In this first full-length from Swanson, four disturbed young men bust out of an asylum and make a run for the Canadian border, fleeing an impending nuclear attack on America. (Apparently, nuclear fallout in Swanson’s world doesn’t cross national borders.) While in the woods, they encounter a series of feral hallucinations that offer them salvation and deliverance from war if they confront their troubled pasts.
To reveal more would be to pistol-whip a dead horse, so let’s simply note the following: Thompson makes a funny and likable science-geek/misanthrope; Stuart Bronaugh contributes effectively moody live-guitar underscoring; and even though they’re young, these actors can portray awkward same-sex intimacy with subtlety and surprise. Other than that, feel no guilt about skipping this risible nonsense evening; the artists here are talented enough that you’ll have another chance to see them later.