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Review: The Owls

Birds of prey
By SHAULA CLARK  |  May 4, 2010
2.5 2.5 Stars

Down-and-out lesbians on the skids, looking for trouble and doomed to end up with blood on their hands — it’s material that’s always worked wonders for tawdry pulp novels and grindhouse flicks. But in mining this reliable vein for low-budget thrills, filmmaker Cheryl Dunye (who gave us 1996’s The Watermelon Woman) wrestles with the formula a bit.

Here, her women on the brink are a cadre of OWLs — “older, wiser lesbians” — ground down by turbulent lives, their HQ set in the decay of the California desert, where they’ve buried a terrible secret. That is, until a mysterious drifter (Skyler Cooper) drops by with a shovel. Candid interviews are woven throughout the film, with actors talking about themselves both in and out of character.

This could seem flimsy unless you know about the Parliament Film Collective (Dunye’s long-time collaborators). It might all be a bit wanky, but there’s something about the film that gnaws at you anyway.

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