‘Hunter Gatherer’ an unusually warm South L.A. story

“Hunter Gatherer” is appealing and unusual for its depiction of contemporary black men in Los Angeles.

Remarkably, there’s no profanity, weapons or illicit drugs in the lives of these seemingly regular guys living marginal lives in a dilapidated neighborhood not unfamiliar to Hollywood filmmakers.

Yet writer-director Josh Locy takes a decidedly indie approach in his first film, the meandering tale of a quirky middle-aged man recently out of prison, trying, with middling success, to make something of himself and win back his former girlfriend Linda — even though she’s over him, engaged to another.

Andre Royo (“The Wire,” “Empire”) is remarkable as Ashley Douglas, the film’s optimistic and opportunistic protagonist.

He’s also hard to resist as he romances another woman in the wake of his former sweetheart’s rejection, annoys his beleaguered mother, and befriends a guy he meets on the street — even roping him into starting a refrigerator recycling business (of sorts) of dubious viability.

There’s not a lot of back story in “Hunter Gatherer,” and sometimes the character’s motivations are unclear.

The plot is peppered with dreamy bits of magical realism, which don’t always work.

Still, Ashley’s encounters with everyone in his world — his no-nonsense ex Linda (Ashley Wilkerson), his easygoing new girl Nat (Kellee Stewart) and his simple and giving new pal Jeremy (George Sample III) — make for an invigorating, offbeat journey.

REVIEW
Hunter Gatherer
three stars
Starring Andre Royo, George Sample III, Kellee Stewart, Ashley Wilkerson
Written and directed by Josh Locy
Not rated
Running time 1 hour, 25 minutes
Note The film screens at the Roxie.

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