Poser, a thrilling deep dive into Columbus, Ohio’s music scene, completely shocked and surprised me. Directed by Noah Dixon (who also wrote the script) and Ori Segev, Poser delves into the music world with vigor and realism. Beyond that, it’s a searing character study about timid Lennon (newcomer Sylvie Mix) as she starts up a podcast to “investigate and research” underground musicians. Lennon’s journey and exploration for her recordings transforms into an obsession. Lennon begins to find a voice of her own when she connects with one half of the real-life indie pop group Damn the Witch Siren, Bobbi Kitten (played by herself, and whose voice sounds very Billie Eilish). Lennon’s obsession grows dangerous as she tweaks and toys with her own musical ambitions.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but Poser proves itself from early on. Lennon’s musings for her podcast are captivating and interesting, and included some of the following tidbits: the best way to discover new music is to hunt, as they’re hidden away at record shops from the grubby hands of voracious consumers; bands self-identity among many different labels, including “queer death pop,” and there’s even some that “don’t really identify” as a band at all; Old North is like modern Florence and full of experimental creatives. For a podcast all about live music and conversations with artists, the tunes themselves are as aesthetically pleasing as the rest of the package. It certainly helps that the real-life musicians of Colombus, Ohio, were heavily involved, including Bobbi Kitten; I found it hard to believe that Bobbi was not a professional actress, as she is nothing short of incredible playing a fictionalized version of herself.
Sylvie Mix is also excellent in the lead role of Lennon. She has a charismatic, naive quality to her performance that left me in awe of her talent. Her quiet singer/songwriter vibe is a front for her emotionally enthralling persona behind closed doors. As she connects more with Bobbi, who insists Lennon’s art and ideas are important and one of the best things about her, Lennon’s confidence and faith in herself begins to evolve.
I feel this movie was very mismarketed, and I was surprised at how freely it exists within the thriller genre. Discussing anything beyond the second act delves too deeply into spoiler territory, but suffice to say it’s a dark, crazy, and shocking exploration of fame and popularity. Splitting Poser up into different chapters puts emphasis on some of the more stylish flourishes and character quirks. As an avid concertgoer and lover of music, I adored the vibrant soundtrack and passionate performances. There’s no doubt in my mind that this could become a big hit. Remember: “a true musician pushes boundaries.”
Poser screened at Tribeca Film Festival, Thursday June 10th.