Infamous (Movie Review)

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

PLOT: Florida girl goes on a cross-country crime spree with her boyfriend, broadcasting their crimes on social media in a quest for fame.

REVIEW: Anyone who watches writer/director Joshua Caldwell's crime thriller INFAMOUS (WATCH IT HERE) will be smarter than the film's lead characters, which may be an issue for some viewers. When the movie starts, you have to strap in and prepare yourself for the fact that you're about to watch two stupid people do some really dumb things over the next 100 minutes. If you don't mind being able to laugh and scoff at the stupidity of the leads, you may find that INFAMOUS is a captivating film.

Bella Thorne, who has become a genre regular in recent years, stars as Arielle, a young waitress whose only dream in life is to become famous. She gets bummed over her low number of social media followers, but she is certain the universe is going to bring her fame in some way, even though she is incredibly trashy and, as mentioned, not too bright. She meets her match when she crosses paths with Dean (Jake Manley), a parolee staying with his abusive father in Arielle's Florida hometown. Arielle and Dean quickly fall for each other, and when circumstances force them to go on the run together, Arielle knows exactly where she wants to go: Hollywood. And they decide to fund the cross-country drive there by robbing gas stations and weed dispensaries.

Robbery is a bad idea to begin with, but Arielle takes the poor decisions even further. In her quest for followers and internet fame, she decides to broadcast their crimes online, starting a new Instagram page dedicated to showing off their robberies, and not caring at all that their identities soon become public knowledge.

Infamous Bella Thorne Joshua Caldwell

"Criminal couple on the run" is a classic set-up, we've seen this sort of thing play out many times before and we have a pretty good idea where this is heading from the moment begins, but this is a very modern take on the concept, since Arielle builds her entire existence around her social media account. This aspect of the story had me shaking my head at several points throughout the film, and yet it felt very true-to-life to me. It was no leap at all to imagine a modern criminal being just as vapid and obsessed with internet fame as Arielle is, filming robberies and celebrating with selfies. Caldwell handled the social media part of the story perfectly.

Thorne plays the off-balance fool quite well, she's thoroughly believable as Arielle and makes the character equally repellent and fascinating – and when she really goes off she has some line deliveries that may leave you laughing while also wondering if she's possessed. Manley does very well playing just the sort of dim fellow who would get caught up in Arielle's schemes, while also being able to show that Dean has a bit more depth than his significant other.

Amber Riley also makes a memorable appearance in the film as a telemarketer who is one of the millions of followers the couple has online. She briefly gets involved with Arielle and Dean – at gunpoint. And when an abrasive fellow played by Michael Sirow shows up, you can tell that things are really about to fall apart for the characters.

Infamous Bella Thorne Jake Manley Joshua Caldwell

Boasting some terrific cinematography by Eve M. Cohen, INFAMOUS is a well-crafted, familiar-but-fresh movie that kept me interested and entertained for the duration, even when I was appalled by the dumb actions of the characters and worrying how far they would go.

Vertical Entertainment will be giving INFAMOUS a virtual cinema and VOD release on June 12th.

Source: Arrow in the Head

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.