True Stories

Dir: David Byrne
Starring: John Goodman, David Byrne, Swoosie Kurtz, Spalding Gray

If words like "odd" and "quirky" come to mind when you think of David Byrne, they should also come to mind for this movie - less a film, than a long music video, filled with characters in search of a plot. It takes place in the imaginary town of Virgil, Texas, busy celebrating the state's 150th anniversary - though this seems largely an excuse to use the word "sesquicentenary". Byrne, wearing a stetson hat and a variety of lurid suits, drops in on various inhabitants, that's it.

If the inhabitants were supporting roles in a Coen brothers movie, it'd be fine, but few amuse or interest to the degree David Byrne thinks they do, and wheeling out a parade of fictional eccentrics hardly qualifies as great art. Was amused by the Lying Lady though, who spouts a constant stream of imaginative fabrications. What story you get comes from Louis Fyne's (John Goodman) quest for a wife - effective, yet well short of enough. It does catch fire when the music kicks in, however, especially when the characters performed Talking Heads songs, curiously, still reminding me of Byrne. More of this, and less self-indulgence, would have been welcome. Instead, large parts come across as patronising, a New York artist descending to play with country folks; it's not just dry but totally arid, almost to the point of barren.


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