Film at Lincoln Center’s review published on Letterboxd:
In Putty Hill, Matt Porterfield’s keenly observed portrait of young people in a Baltimore suburb coming together in the wake of a friend’s death, the actors play versions of themselves, dramatizing their plights and pleasures in the service of fiction. “I’m interested in regular teenagers in a certain milieu,” Porterfield explained in an interview. “They‘re a part of the environment just like the backyard swimming pool or playground or skate park. It’s all part of the mise-en-scène, real kids from this real place. I look to someone like Bresson as a kind of shepherd in terms of his instinct to work with nonprofessionals in his films, the idea of the value of that, the openness.” Laida Lertxundi prefers to work with non-actors as well, though the narrative of Cry When It Happens only flirts with legibility, presenting not a story but rather an enigmatic and emotionally resonant experiment with the conventions of film’s visual syntax and our attendant expectations.