While an absurd comedy, Loners contains just enough heart, and twists, to see you through until the end.
|Screenplay By||Neil McGowan|
|Good If You Like||Comedies Featuring A Bunch Of Odd Misfits
Odd Solutions To Social Problems
|Isn’t For You If You||Are Looking For Insightful Moments About Loneliness or the Gun Violence Crisis|
|Ed||David Christian Welborn|
|Agent Delgado||Michael Monks|
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Loners Plot Summary
Thanks to the Department of Homeland Security, those who could possibly become “Lone Wolf” shooters are carefully monitored by the US Government. We’re introduced to one group consisting of Lincoln, a former sports star; Senise, a former child actor; Dabney, who is currently working in IT; Tanner, a landscaper; Franny, a librarian; Ed, a crook of sorts; Clara, a woman of a certain age; and Jeremy, someone who lost his mind. Together, under the tutelage of Mike, the goal is for them to learn how to be less introverted and more extroverted. But, until then, they have headbands which allow Mike, and any government official, to shock and subdue them. Leaving you to wonder, how and will this group find a way to escape the subjugation of being loners?
Slowly, But Surely, You Gain An Attachment To These Weirdos
With how these characters are crafted, you could easily imagine them being part of an NBC show that struggles in the ratings but has a strong following. Take Lincoln, for example. There is something about him which will remind you of the mean spirited male lead on many recent NBC shows like Community. Jeremy is that one weird character who requires a consistent side eye, Tanner is the socially maladjusted dude who just needs some understanding and Franny is the woman you know is going to be matched with someone. The only question is who, why, and how often is she going to end up fighting with them and making up within the next few minutes?
And it is with that sense of familiarity that leads you to become interested in watching these characters slowly open up to one another. Also, it pushes you to appreciate the weird angle government agents, like Agent Delgado, play in the film. For while some could see his part as unnecessary overkill, it throws in a mind-boggling addition to the film which plays on your growing love for the characters.
On The Fence
Loners isn’t necessarily political. Characters don’t call for gun rights or the right to bear arms. More so, the push is showing one of the ridiculous means the US government may address the problem without dealing with gun ownership. In doing so, you get how your right to a gun could be traded in for your right to not be knowingly observed on a regular basis. Also, Loners pushes how dangerous a “Us” vs. “ Them” attitude is for those who are normalized can become extremists. Leading to people like Ed, even if they aren’t saints, being bothered just for existing.
But, as much as you can dig into the idea the film is really trying to say something, a lot of what is mentioned above only exists early on in the movie. After everyone is introduced, the commentary weakens, and Loners focuses on showing how eccentric everyone is and their abilities to create awkward moments.
No One Really Deals With Their Issues
Part of what is done with this film is showing that people who may not be the most social aren’t necessarily anti-social. More so, they are just more picky who they spend their time with. But, when it comes to the men of the film, being alone doesn’t necessarily seem to be a choice. And while we do learn about Lincoln’s past, generally, we don’t go too far past the surface so don’t expect any notable character development.
Overall: Mixed (Divisive)
What leaves us torn with Loners is that it goes from poking fun at a means you can see the government handling the gun violence crisis, to misfits becoming friends. Which isn’t a terrible thing to watch, but as much as you’ll fall for Lincoln, Franny, Tanner, and the rest, between not going deeper with the larger theme or the characters themselves, it leaves you wanting more. And while there are multiple comedic moments, if you are the type to analyze things a bit too much, you may more so think about what was left on the cutting room floor than the jokes and situational comedy. Hence the mixed label.