Brooklyn Film Festival-LEON’S FANTASY CUT

by Daniel Mendes,

We’re all just a couple of bros trying to make it in this American dream. Leon’s Fantasy Cut is a wild and bitter look into unfulfilled dreams and broken promises. George and Iggy are two Ukrainian brothers who are frustrated but hopeful that their toils will someday bring them success. What they don’t realize, however, is that sometimes, what we want isn’t always what we get. 

Directors Josh Caras (who also stars) and John Valde establish George and Iggy’s complicated relationship by showing them living in a cheap, suffocating, New York studio apartment in a constant state of tension as both brothers attempt to be successful on their own terms. A sense of discomfort permeates the film, and Caras and Valde know how to milk that awkward tension for all its worth.

While George and his brother are the main protagonists, the film doesn’t shy from showing the darker elements of their personalities. George in particular has quite a dark side that rears its ugly head on more than one occasion. While he is the pessimist, Iggy is the optimist that evens out his brother’s negativity. It is actually a detriment to the film that Iggy doesn’t get nearly as much screen time as George. Even so, John Valde makes the most out of his character and delivers a memorable performance.

While the film suffers from a lack of focus, its greatest strengths lie in its ability to create an atmosphere and its memorable characters. George and Iggy and the world they inhabit feel authentic. Amidst its bitter themes and existential dread, the film uses its charismatic characters to guide us through until its powerful conclusion.

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