“Trolling: The Movie!” would be an appropriate title for Drib, because it feels like that’s what movie is all about. The film is a documentary-comedy about the supposed real story of performance artist Amir Asgharnejad and his foray into the marketing world of energy drinks.
The movie begins with a stunningly well-developed montage of commercials that parody energy drink advertisements. We are then given a documentary style background into Amir himself. He is a comedian/performance artist and he became famous for staging a viral video where he pretended to get into a losing fight. The film then transitions into an interview conducted by the director with Amir, and are later presented with the actual narrative of the advertising company working with the latter.
I joked around with calling the film “Trolling: The Movie!,” but it’s difficult not feel that way. The movie flashes back and forth between the interview and the narrative, and most of the time, it’s because Amir does something to disrupt the filmmaking. While these moments are jarring, it’s interesting as we are given a more intimate gaze into the background of the film. We also see how Amir and the director differ in terms of their opinions on things and engage in little arguments. These moments would normally be relegated to a special features section in other films, so seeing it here is unique. This technique also presents another aspect to the movie which is that it is a character study.
Amir has a very interesting outlook on the world and especially in regards to art. In the film, he discusses that he enjoys new kinds of art and especially ones that tear down the old. He also seems to have an aversion to pretentiousness and professionalism. There are numerous times when he goes to great lengths to annoy people and/or disrupt some type of process. His career comes from lying yet he cannot tolerate the false faces that many aspects of society assume. The film itself also emphasizes this notion by having the various characters be extreme stereotypes. They are symbols of the vapidness and egocentricity that dominates Hollywood and the advertising world.
Of course, these themes would not be conveyed properly if the performances weren’t as great as they were. Brett Gilman plays the advertising executive who reaches out to Amir and he steals the show. He epitomizes the passive aggressive, slimy, two-faced, and moronic nature that is attached to the marketing world. Watching him is uncomfortable because he is an immense jerk, but he is still pretty funny. All of the other performances sound as well with the exception of Amir. While he is comfortable on camera, he just lacks charisma or ability. Another note is that he only got the role because he forced the director to hire him.
Drib is an intriguing experiment that satirizes advertising, Hollywood, and even film-making. While Amir Asgharnejad’s performance is weak, high production and powerful acting from the rest of the cast more than make up for it.