Sylvio is perhaps the most absurd buddy comedy that’s ever been made.
Co-directed by Albert Birney and Kentucker Audley with a screenplay co-written with Meghan Doherty, Sylvio’s big-screen story is the result of a half-a-million following on Vine.
What sets Sylvio apart from other gorillas is that rather than be stuck in a zoo, he’s stuck at a dead-end job making phone calls for Chester Debt Collection until a supervisor assigns him the case of Al Reynolds (Audley). Reynolds hosts The Afternoon Show with Al Reynolds, no different than anyone’s basement-based talk show.
Most people would freak out at the sight of a gorilla, let alone a gorilla dressed in clothing and sunglasses, but it seems to be so strange that nobody freaks out at the sight of this gorilla no matter what. When he arrives at Al’s house to collect a debt, everybody thinks that he’s the magician appearing on the show that afternoon. Nobody thought to freak out?!? Not even a little?
It turns out, though, that Sylvio, is a bit of a performer himself. He’s recorded a countless number of episodes of The Quiet Times with Herbert Herpels, starring a hand puppet. This puppet is one of the ways that the gorilla has chosen to show how he feels.
It’s only after Al makes this discovery in which he asks Sylvio to join the talk show as a regular. The puppet show comes aboard but so does a popular segment, which clearly raised the film’s production budget: What’s The Ape Gonna Break? At this point, the film delves into buddy comedy territory in the most absurd way possible.
A lot happens in the first half hour that it feels like the debt collection was going to be a forgotten plot hole. Not even ten minutes later, they decide to revisit the debt collection. This leads Sylvio to make some poor life choices for better or worse.
The film is an interesting one. Lo and behold, it turns out to be yet another a holiday-themed release this fall! Even though it premiered at the 2017 SXSW Film Festival, it feels like it could have easily been selected for the Slamdance Film Festival. Having watching a number of Slamdance selections, it could fit right into the crowd.
Following the world premiere earlier this year, Sylvio played a number of festivals but only recently started it’s limited theatrical release, including a run at Facets in Chicago starting on November 24, 2017.