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1,860 Ratings

The Color Wheel

Directed by Alex Ross Perry
United States, 2011
Comedy, Romance


JR, an aspiring news-anchor, forces her younger brother Colin to embark on a road trip to move her belongings out of her professor-turned-lover’s place. Traveling through New England, they uncomfortably run into old school-mates or revisit familial history from which they have long since diverged.

Our take

Before Listen Up Philip, Queen of Earth, and Her Smell, indie director Alex Ross Perry grabbed our attention with this wonderfully acerbic second feature. An uproariously abrasive, fast-paced comedy road movie about a hyper dysfunctional brother-sister duo, shot on gorgeous 16mm B&W film.

The Color Wheel Directed by Alex Ross Perry

Awards & Festivals

Independent Spirit Awards

2013 | Nominee: John Cassavetes Award

Village Voice Film Poll

2011 | Winner: Best Undistributed Film

Indiewire Critics' Poll

2011 | Winner: Best Undistributed Film

…[It’s] among the most significant American films of the last decade-plus and a key work of the modern independent cinema… When The Color Wheel suddenly pivots, in its final act, from a comic register to something more tragic, the effect is more pronounced than a simple tonal shift; instead it feels as though the parameters of the film have changed. An almost undetectable pressure, you realize, has been building through the picture.
January 17, 2014
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Perry directs these uproarious rapid-fire flareups with exquisite comic timing and incisive comic framing (the black-and-white cinematography is by Sean Price Williams); he and Altman go at each other with claws bared, revealing the terrifying vulnerability of a pair of wounded souls who know each other’s wounds all too well.
May 01, 2013
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That it’s often difficult to tell which of those three describes Perry’s work here more accurately isn’t a product of some duplicity on his part; rather, it hints at its complexity and uncategorizable originality. Schooled in film history but not beholden to it, treating style as expression rather than a given, taking its ambitions seriously, willing to explore unexplored or marginalized territory: the cinema of the future, I hope.
June 19, 2011
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