Hal Hartley is one of the great unsung American auteurs. The nineties were his fifteen minutes of flirting with fame, an indie darling who- along with Jim Jarmusch- was embraced by Europe and the world, but way too idiosyncratic to ever really appeal to mass audiences here in the United States. In a way, he perfectly embodies the 90’s Indie Film movement, the one that seemed to usher in a renaissance of great films that actually made money and connected with audiences. Like socially-conscious hip-hop, however, that dream died with Bill Clinton’s Telecommunications Act of 1996, which gave us a de-regulated media landscape where big companies bought up little companies, choosing to focus on giant superhero movies with lots of effects, and leaving little room for art.

But enough about politics- Hal Hartley is an acquired taste, one of dry, deadpan dialogue delivery which resists every dramatic convention Hollywood has raised you to expect. Amateur is a wonderful example of this, a story of a pornographer who gets amnesia and innocently wanders through the destructive world he created, unaware of his own moral culpability. Hartley loves to set up cornball genre conventions quickly and then break them down, having his characters verbalize what is usually an internal dialogue not meant for anyone else’s ears. It’s subversive and silly, as all of Hartley’s films are, and it features the always-captivating Isabelle Huppert as an ex-nun, as well as Hartley mainstay Martin Donovan as our existentially-troubled lead. Every Hal Hartley movie is worth your time, but while some of his films require a bit more effort on your part, Amateur remains quite fun throughout.

An extra treat is seeing early 90’s New York City in vivid high-definition glory, which, between Bloomberg-era gentrification and the economic hit from a worldwide pandemic, is now, sadly, a romantic vision of a city that no longer exists.

3 thoughts on “Amateur

  1. Over the last couple months I’ve tried to download around 8 movies from Movie Club, and only one actually worked. GoFile almost always times out or has a network error. I haven’t had this problem with any other file hosting site.


    1. Thank you for letting us know. That’s really confusing to hear, though, since it seems to have been working well for everyone else- and we test the links here and never have a problem downloading them. Once the download fails, do you try again? Does it work or does it keep failing over and over? Have you tried using other browsers, by any chance? You can also google a free program called J-Downloader, where you copy / paste the link and it will download it for you (the app lets you download multiple links at once, files from youtube, and more, which is why we’re recommending it.) Let us know if any of those work!


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