Chi Chi [Chelsey d'Adesky, USA, 2020]

It is difficult sometimes to fathom how, particularly in 1980s America, there was ever such thing as a criminal “underworld”. With such flagrant displays of wealth, egregious disregard for discretion, and scant concern for lawfulness, “overworld” may have been a more apposite expression. Reverentially mapping the narrative trajectories of popular gangster-police procedurals such as Miami Vice [USA, 1984-89], To Live and Die in L.A. [William Friedkin, USA, 1985] and (mostly clearly) Scarface [Brian De Palma, USA, 1983], there is a sagacious awareness that infuses this stylishly tantalising drama from director, Chelsey d’Adesky.

Much like Brian De Palma, d’Adesky is adept at deconstructing narrative tropes and reconstructing them with a kind of metatextual irony, producing an amalgamation of pop-cultural expressions filtered through a unique and original lens. Foreshadowing the central motif of the film, a fashion poster on the central character’s bedroom wall emblazoned with the name ‘Tabitha’ appears like a slanted reference to the short-lived 70s