Jarrett Bryant’s Maxie achieves a raw and honest portrayal of two drug addicted teenagers living on the streets in Eugene, Oregon. Bryant’s gritty indie film stars relative unknowns Miles Dixon and Liv Tavernier, two daring young actors who deliver exceptional breakout performances as “Maxie” and “Sidney”. Dixon is compelling as the main character who suffers through several different mental states and Tavernier delivers a bleak realness layered and woven underneath with charisma.
While Maxie and Sidney come from different sides of the tracks, their drug addictions bring them together in hope and despair. Pain, anger and abuse run deep in this love story which is told with a fresh voice and point of view. Bryant wrote and directed this coming of age story taking place just before and during the pandemic.
Bryant and cinematographer Henry Huntington skillfully introduce us to the city of Eugene through the eyes of Maxie and Sidney as they journey the streets and neighborhoods while bumping into family, friends, dealers and strangers. Some of these characters are kind but many from the street life are perilous and conniving.
As the story unfolds, Maxie and Sidney attempt to leave everything behind and one can only hope they will make it before everything in their life starts to spiral out of control. Aided by songs consisting of a jazzy, hip hop beat and a hypnotic score, Maxie builds powerfully with suspense.
In addition, the great camera work and edgy editing style let us know that we are in the filmmaker’s good hands as Bryant’s directorial feature film debut is an eye-popping triumph.