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Syrup: A moral parable for the advertising age

Amber Heard in Syrup.

Sarah Shatz

3 out of 4 stars

Written by
Max Barry, Aram Rappaport
Directed by
Aram Rappaport
Shiloh Fernandez, Amber Heard

It's tempting to say that Aram Rappaport's Syrup sticks, but it's also true.

Based on Max Barry's novel, the story of how a callow slacker – named Scat and played by Shiloh Fernandez – comes up with a million-dollar idea for an energy drink named FUKK, is a moral parable for the advertising age, a cautionary tale of how the soul must suffer for the sale to clinch.

Advertising is, of course, the art of creating a need where none exists, and at this Scat – he thinks it sounds like jazz, but to others it evokes animal poop – is something of a master. It probably has something to do with all that time couch-surfing and staring at the ceiling. But when he realizes what he himself needs – the girl in the power suit – he finds he's all empty calories and no real juice.

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While not quite as acerbic as Billy Wilder's One, Two, Three or as ambitious as Mad Men, Rappaport's movie is at least idealistic, positing as it does that love – in this case for Amber Heard's ruthless glass-ceiling smasher of an ad exec – is the only antidote for the perfect pitch.

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Geoff More


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