DON PEYOTE (2014)
Written and directed by Michael Canzoniero and Dan Fogler
Warren, an unemployed graphic novel artist, experiences the trip of his life after bumping into a homeless man preaching ‘the end is near’.
How to describe DON PEYOTE? I’d have a pretty hard time but I’ll give it a shot. Set in 2012, we follow the life of Warren, a Jewish, unemployed stoner who’s only real talent is being able to experience vivid dreams. Living with his fiancé Karen, who’s eager for Warren to get her pregnant due to her biological clock ticking, Warren’s life is pretty sewn up. That is until his interest in conspiracy theories, particularly that of the Mayan calendar predicting the end of the world, spurs him on to create a documentary with his friend. Filming the documentary opens his life up to many new faces who each have a story to share and soon Warren becomes consumed with the ideas placed into his mind. His psychedelic journey finds him tiptoeing the line between madness and sanity – what is real anymore?
Nearly every scene the viewer is shown in the movie features Warren and whilst the film is rather straight-forward for the first 10 minutes, it soon descends into chaos, dream sequences, hallucinations and musicals. Yes, you read that correctly. Fortunately, the lead role is played by Dan Fogler, star of the brilliant Wrecked. Fogler also wrote and directed the movie which features cameo appearances from a badass Anne Hathaway, Topher Grace and his Wrecked co-star Josh Duhamel, who stars as a tree-dwelling hobo. Fogler is quite likeable from the get-go and remains so throughout the 98 minute running time though what exactly is seen on screen is not something that can be easily described, and once experienced you’ll be left scratching your head. That’s not to say the movie is rubbish. The film actually has a lot going for it in a surreal way, but I’m not exactly sure what happened and what it all meant. My only assumption is that through experiencing the life-changing and life-affirming journey, Warren ended up an enlightened being.
A film with little structure, making very little sense actually manages to throw some good theories out there, particularly that we as humans are so consumed by what the media, government and businesses throw at us, that we are blind to the bigger picture. Every sort of conspiracy theory is mentioned from Bilderberg group to 9/11 and even reptilian monarchy, though it is the idea of the end of the Mayan calendar and thus the end of the world, plus the possibility of homo-sanctus to exist, that is the main crux of the story. All these ideas flood onto the screen in a mass psychedelic experience that is both entertaining and bamboozling, complete with CGI tsunamis, evil rabbits and apartment orgies.
I would expect those who’ve had a trippy experience of their own may find more sense in DON PEYOTE than I.