After finally taking his untouched bike out of the closet and attempting to ride down one of San Francisco’s steepest hills, Max (Wiley Wiggins) gets a cut. As his long-term girlfriend, Sara (Ia Hernandez), cleans his wounds, he says, “It’s kinda pretty but gross at the same time.” Isn’t that what relationships are all about?
Sorry, Thanks — which plays at 9:30 tonight at BAMcinemaFest — isn’t about Max and Sara. Rather, it’s about Max and his two-night stand, Kira (Kenya Miles). Writer-director Dia Sokol subtly and effectively treats viewers to a view of their fascination.
Kira is practical. Her goal in life is to become a fact-checker. She wants something more solid. During a job interview for a copyediting position, the interviewer asks, “Would you be up for something this regimented?” Kira would. Miles’ wide-eyed look, though, seems to contain unplumbed depths.
Max is the awkwardly quirky guy who rambles on. His friends and girlfriend describe him as a sweet asshole; Wiggins speaks with a funny yet weird and uneasy tone. Despite his adulterous dalliances, he and Sara seem to be in love and completely comfortable with each other as they make funny faces and speak in silly voices.
Sokol’s storytelling emphasizes how both Kira and Max try to grow into their lives, but are somehow stuck. Kira attempts bathroom sex with new boyfriend Simon (Donovan Baddley). Then she immediately sleeps with Max again. Max gets a cat, which he soon forgets about and loses. One step forward, two steps back.
Cinematographer Mathias Grunsky makes great use of the lines, sloping hills and vibrant murals of the Mission District, while the editing constantly juxtaposes the two lives, scenes complimenting each other perfectly: Max interviews two new staff members, Kira interviews for a position. But ultimately, you remember the tale Sokol tells: it’s sad, but her understanding of Max’s indecision rings so true to life that you can’t help but place yourself in his shoes.