On first glance Sebastián Silva’s new film, Nasty Baby, could be be anything from an art school project to the early work of Jim Jarmusch. Silva himself is a man of many talents. Not content with being an award-winning director, he’s also an actor, musician, artist and screenwriter. The film itself covers a range of modern social and urban issues including gentrification, mental health and surrogate families.
Mo (Tunde Adebimpe) and Freddy (Sebastián Silva) are a gay couple living in a gentrified street in Brooklyn. They’re trying to complete their lives by having a baby with the aid of Freddy’s best friend Polly (Kristen Wiig). At the same time, Freddy is trying to make a video for his new artistic project, Nasty Baby. They start to be harassed by a mentally disturbed local (Reg E. Cathey) whose actions become increasingly erratic and menacing.
There’s much to admire in Silva’s film, not least the way he handles the huge shift in tone towards the end. There are naturalistic performances from all the cast, although the handheld camerawork takes some getting used to and can grate a little. All in all, Nasty Baby is more of a curiosity than a fully fledged film but it doesn’t stop it being entertaining and surprising.
Nasty Baby out in cinemas and On Demand from 8 April 2016.