Tribeca 2019 Review: Julianne Nicholson is Pitch Perfect in the Wonderfully Distorted Initials S.G.

What happens when you put soccer, romance, a dead body, music, and porn into one movie? You get Initials S.G., a rather bold dark comedy about two broken people yearning for some adventure. The best way to describe Initials S.G. is that it’s wonderfully chaotic and while some will feel it swings for the fences a little too much, its genre bending efforts are still quite applaudable.

Sergio (Diego Peretti) is a porn actor who’s obsessed with the music of Serge Gainsbourg and is a little down on his luck. So much so that he hopes for the Argentinian soccer team to win the World Cup to give him some fortune. However, his luck may have increased after meeting Jane (Julianne Nicholson), an American film sales agent looking for a little fulfillment. Once the two meet and fall in love, their thrill-seeking pursuits lead to a fair amount of trouble.

When it comes to the various genres that Initials S.G. plays with, the romance aspect of the story remains its highest point. One reason is because the chemistry between Diego Peretti and Julianne Nicholson is rather intoxicating. Also, Julianne Nicholson is pitch perfect as the seemingly innocent Jane, tiptoeing a delicate line between subtle recklessness and piety. It’s another terrific performance from an actress who’s always reliable yet remains frustratingly underrated. Diego Peretti impresses in equal measure even if some may find his ornery anti-hero difficult to root for.

Aside from the two central performances, the screenplay is where the film mostly works. Both Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia, who also directed the film, have various genres to navigate. But they still illustrate each genre at the precise occurrence. Once Sergio and Jean cross paths, that’s when their romance blossoms and gets woven into the plot points involving the World Cup. But as the picture progresses and their conflict escalates, that is where it becomes a pitch black comedy. Along with the use of genre curving, the screenplay’s use of expositional narration that illustrates Sergio’s rough backstory is used proficiently.

Despite there being a bit too many endings, Initials S.G. is still a worthy genre distorter that attempts to surprise you at every turn. Also, Diego Peretti may be terrific as the main character but it’s Julianne Nicholson whose star shines the brightest. She is the brilliant center of an eccentric thrill ride filled with immense intrigue.

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Matthew St.Clair

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