It’s a shame that the concept of Kentucker Audley and a gorilla working together on a local afternoon talk show is much better than what it actually amounts to being here. Audley, who is becoming just as known for his Kickstarted apparel company titled Movies Brand as his robust catalog of acting credits, is always a treat to have onscreen. Popping up everywhere from the films of Joe Swanberg to Alex Ross Perry to his own directorial efforts, there is always a real sense of character throughout all of his performances, and that certainly remains the case here with his most recent writing and directing effort, Sylvio.
Audley co-directs the film alongside Albert Birney, the artist who conjured up the idea for Sylvio. Stemming from his popular account from the now deceased social media outlet, Vine, the directing duo collaborated in late 2015 to Kickstart a campaign to develop Birney’s six-second Vines into one compact film following the relationship of Sylvio and television host, Al Reynolds (played by Kentucker Audley). The team heavily relies on its three-act narrative structure that unfolds in just about every way you could possibly expect. Using the first act to primarily establish and accommodate the two principal personalities with each another, it becomes apparent from pretty much the get-go where things are headed.
There is nothing enjoyable about admonishing a film that has such confidently positive intentions as something like Slyvio. Overall, this is a pleasantly “fine” piece of festival fare that isn’t setting out to cause any harm, but instead, it takes advantage of its medium to send out a motivational message, which is certainly a remarkable quality for a film to have, especially in this day and age. Capturing how much of a lively time the cast is having with one another whole working on this, it’s never difficult to sit through this breezy 80-minute narrative about a gorilla who’s trying to emerge from the generalizations that all he is capable of doing is to just completely annihilate everything that surrounds him for the consumption of the public eye. Audley and Birney are certainly working through fitting ideas of our current times, but their inventive spin on the familiar ground that they’re tackling never warrants the retracing of so much of the mundane areas they decide to steer their film towards.