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Lost Soulz Movie Review: Good Vibes

Five Gen Z people pose for a photo sitting and standing on a colorful staircase in a still from the movie Lost Soulz

Katherine Propper’s Lost Soulz may not have the most substantial plot, but this Gen Z road movie has infectiously good vibes.

Director: Katherine Propper
Genre: Drama, Road Movie
Run Time: 95′
US Release: April , 2024
UK Release: TBA
Where to watch: in theaters

Experiential cinema like Lost Soulz can only thrive when focused on interesting protagonists. For Katherine Propper, her protagonists – a group of Gen Z musical artists bumbling around Texas in a van – channel their unbridled youthful energy into Lost Soulz, marking themselves out as prime material for Propper to utilise for creating soulful vérité-style cinema about the ephemerality of trying to create art as a Gen Z person.

When Sol (Sauve Sidle) performs a rap track at a party, he is scouted by a group of musicians traveling through West Texas. The young Sol eagerly jumps at the opportunity to perform with them in El Paso, choosing to leave his best friend Wesley (Siyanda “Yung Bambi” Stillwell) behind. Sol had been staying with Wesley and his family, so disappearing with little conversation around it leads to a brief internal conflict for Sol, exacerbated by Wesley overdosing at the party. Sol, in his rainbow dreadlocks and cavalier excitement, joins the group but spends time debating over an Instagram message to Wesley explaining his departure. 

A strong element that enhances Lost Soulz is the use of original music by the crew: Big Loko (Tauran “Big40Thrax” Ambroise), Seven (Aaron Melloul), Malachi (Malachi Manson), Mao (Alexander Bracknell), Nina (Krystall Poppin) and Froggy (Micro TDH). Their music, along with their camaraderie, has this infectious rhythm to it. Their rap/hip-hop music – which is not a genre styling that one would predominantly listen to – is noticeably great when riffing acapella, while their gigs feature occasionally off-putting stylings of autotune.

A Black man with multicolored dreadlocks makes peace gestures while singing and holding a brigh yellow iPhone in a still from the movie Lost Soulz
Lost Soulz (Donald Monroe, Kino Lorber)

The permeation of technology seems apparent in the real-world of Lost Soulz. Perhaps Propper is highlighting how important TikTok and other social media are to Gen Z – none more apparent than the social currency of Sol having over a hundred thousand Instagram followers that appear to indicate his minimal success. Propper incorporates super 8 footage and vertical clips from phone videos as connective tissue for Sol’s emotional throughline, as well as FaceTime for Sol to maintain his connection with Wesley’s younger sister Jessie (Giovahnna Gabriel). This is in congruence with the crew’s social media usage, where Instagram becomes the hub for news and for announcements.

As a millennial, the device use is noticeable – especially during the concert they perform at, where phone torches indicate the recording and capturing of the event – but there is such an honest and civil vibe in Lost Soulz, where perhaps Gen Zs are just coded this way: that technology has become synonymous with day-to-day life, and has become a vital tool in finding success

Lost Soulz finds pathos in Sol’s emotional journey, if still feeling like it could and should have been more substantial. While stylistically similar to the likes of Andrea Arnold’s American Honey, it paves its own contemporary path as a commentary on Gen Z’s artistic motivations and their relationship with technology. Led by a charming Sidle, this warm and pleasant road movie presents Gen Z as their own lost souls, as their art gets drowned amidst a sea of their similarly stuck peers while the sun sets on their youth.

Lost Soulz will be released in US theaters on May 3, 2024.

Lost Soulz: Trailer (Kino Lorber)
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