One of the most impressive films to come out of not this year’s South by Southwest, but last year’s festivities, is Elijah Bynum’s fantastic directorial debut, Hot Summer Nights. All the more impressive is the fact that the young screenwriter and filmmaker had zero experience in either field prior to making the film. And yet, the sweeping indie epic is a simmering anti-coming-of-age drama that moves with the muscular confidence of an early Paul Thomas Anderson production, and even kind of looks like one, too.
Set in Cape Cod, Massachusetts during the Summer of 1991, the film follows a seemingly quiet and timid teenager named Daniel (Timothée Chalamet), who’s sent upstate for the season by his mother in what he even admits is a total cliché. After finding some work at a beat-up gas station, he soon befriends his co-worker, a small town hunk named Hunter Strawberry (Alex Roe), who gets him involved in some shady sidejobs that involve copious amounts of drugs.
With Chalamet being indie royalty now, what with award-winning appearances in last year’s Call Me By Your Name and Lady Bird, Hot Summer Nights is a major coup for A24, whose finally releasing the damn thing on July 27th. In anticipation, they’ve dropped the first trailer, which offers an expansive first-look at the film, and even takes a Goodfellas/Scorsese-esque turn towards the end, which makes sense given that the film was a major inspiration to Bynum. Watch below and mark your calendar.
Also, two words: Thomas Jane.