This documentary-ish covering of an exclusive “lounge with a very elaborate entrance” would’ve been a mildly amusing short film, but at a needless 90 minutes the highly repetitive & culty talking heads get old. Eventually there *is* kind of something beyond just elders and members of this purposefully vague secret club talking about the minutiae in purposefully vague phrasings–it certainly takes a while, though. 

Spencer McCall, a documentary filmmaker, interviews several involved in a private membership club called “The Latitude” about time spent there. Some cover the alluringly mysterious exclusivity of “absolute discretion” and being one of the “selected” and “chosen,” others discuss a “brush with the intangible” which led them on this path, and eventually the founder and community elders delve into the struggles of keeping it alive as needs diverge with desires. What is The Latitude? How do you join? What happens next?

Watching a series of people describe being drawn to a special, whimsical, unique, awesome community of fellow one-of-a-kind souls isn’t my idea of entertainment, I guess. Everything doesn’t always have to be “entertaining,” obviously, but it’s not like I learned new things or had my worldview altered. People often like to feel they’re here for a reason or at the very least have purpose so I understand the drive for something like this, but so what? This is hardly the first time a bunch of self-proclaimed outsiders and weirdos all tried navigating life together out on some large property in nature. There’s nothing noteworthy about this particular batch of free-spirited, individual, culty talking heads and not much happens, honestly. 

In Bright Axiom spends so much time wheel-spinning on the same kinds of good ol’ days reverie before finally progressing it starts to feel more like an ad for this secret society than a documentary–an “ad-umentary.” Thankfully it manages to pivot away from that point of view a bit with a whopping twenty minutes left to go, which I was quite thankful for, though I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s worth the wait.  It’s also not exactly revelatory stuff once we get there. Would you ever believe that a commune-esque bunch going on about your entity field/flux/level/etc while discussing the deeper meaning of a large, glass bowl of water (it’s hard and protective, yet flows within–what wisdom!) with sash-clad “elders” and sermons could somehow go off the rails? Yeah, who knew… 

I was reminded of the many ads I saw for “Dispatches From Elsewhere” on AMC and turns out the director, Spencer McCall, is also involved behind the scenes with that project (which is based on/inspired by a previous film of his, The Institute–about an underground game scavenger hunt something). Personally, this brand of vague mystery that’s specifically designed to first and foremost be quirkily elusive with everything else coming in a distant second is nothing I find fascinating–just odd for the purpose of being odd. Evidently the director and many others find this kind of documentary-lite thing interesting so perhaps you will, too. If they’d gotten to the point roughly 40 minutes earlier and had a purpose of some kind I could’ve gotten on board, but I think there’s simply not enough meat on these bones for me. 

 

4 out of 10 Culty Talking Heads

 

In Bright Axiom
RATING:NR
Runtime:1 Hr. 29 Mins.
Directed By:
Spencer McCall
Written By:
Geordie Aitken
Farouz Gipson
Wylie Herman
Spencer McCall