The Anarchist Cookbook (2002)

anarchistThis is often very fascinating in its examination of the anarchist culture and tends to occasionally give us small tidbits and nuggets of information and insight in to the anarchist culture while occasionally giving us some great dialogue that are thrown our way every now and again. It’s often fascinating to see what good intentioned people anarchists strive to be when you shed away the poseurs and wannabes. They’re anti-establishment, they’re for the exchange of un-tattered ideas and are against propaganda. Sometimes if you look hard enough “Anarchist” can be fascinating to watch.

One of the big highlights of this is Gina Phillips, who is utterly gorgeous and incredibly sexy to watch, it’s a shame she doesn’t have enough time to show her skills off. You can call “Fight Club” whatever you want. Overrated, piece of shit, mental diarrhea, over-hyped, dumb, pretentious, ridiculous, giant waste of raw talent, a waste of time, cinematic feces. See, I’ve already called it all that. But, I can safely say this: it wasn’t as trite and utterly desperate to achieve individuality as “The Anarchist Cookbook” tries so hard to be. This is yet another film adapted from a book that had no basic narrative, much like “Steal This Book”.

And the writers of this are so uncreative in their adaptation, they basically ruin what could have been a good movie had it been present with the right creative team. As far as it goes, it has the right idea, it looks like it almost knows where to go with this material, but it botches it in such an uncreative often meandering production that never really owns up to what it promises. I really wanted to like this, in fact, I was anxious to see it. But ultimately, “The Anarchist Cookbook” is just a ninety minute exchange of clichés, hokey elements, and trite with one-liners that are supposed to be “intelligent euphemisms”. In the end, it’s a cheesy film about nihilism that follows conventions of films about being unconventional. And the snake eats his tail.

Jordan Susman’s approach to the film is one part farce, one part satire, one part drama, one part action, and altogether it’s never sure if it’s spoofing anarchists, or paying homage to them. I could never really tell because half the time it seems as if Susman paints the anarchists as revolutionaries whom were ahead of their time, and then the other half of the time it seems he paints them comedically. I mean do anarchists really do nothing but sit around waxing poetic, and spewing crappy dialogue? Much of the film’s attempted mood and nuance is utterly forced along with the digital semi-art house vibe that attempts to try and pass this off as a quasi-documentary, when it’s just all so imposed upon us so forcefully.

And as if the clichés couldn’t get worse, we’re inevitably introduced to neo-Nazis, and any other type of brotherhood you can think of while Dylan Bruno ends up basically being a poor man’s Tyler Durden, which is not saying much within itself. From beginning to end it’s forced and contrived and so utterly nonsensical, I was never sure what message, if any, Susman was trying to convey to us. In spite of its best efforts this adaptation of “Anarchist Cookbook” is never sure if it wants to be comedy farce, or action drama, and becomes just another poor man’s “Fight Club”, which is not saying much. With poor performances and very derivative elements, “Anarchist” is just a pretty bad direct-to-video adaptation and nothing more.