Prolific Chilean filmmaker Sebastian Silva had five movies play at Sundance before Tyrel premiered there, including two in the same year (Magic Magic and Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus, 2013). He introduced a screening of Tyrel, which is about race relations, by saying, “It’s a movie that was specifically designed for Americans. So enjoy it … or not.”
I didn’t particularly enjoy it, but not for the reasons Silva presumably thought some Americans mightn’t. It’s a shaggy, low-key dramedy about a group of guys spending a weekend — the weekend of Trump’s inauguration, as it happens — at a cabin in the Catskills, from the perspective of the one black man among them, Tyler (Jason Mitchell, who played Eazy-E in Straight Outta Compton). Everybody in the group (which includes Michael Cera and Christopher Abbott) is cool and friendly, but their ingrained subconscious racism and general bro-y insensitivity keeps manifesting itself (the film’s title is someone’s mispronunciation of Tyler’s name).
The problem is that it doesn’t go anywhere. Tyrel is Get Out if you removed the horror, most of the comedy, and the point. You keep waiting for something to happen, for the awkwardness and brooding to build to something, and it doesn’t. It’s a good rough draft of a screenplay that just needs to be fleshed out before they start filmi– oh, whoops. Too late now.