Penn Badgley is off-key as Tim Buckley.
GREETINGS FROM TIM BUCKLEY (Dan Algrant). 99 minutes. Opens Friday (May 17). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: NN
If you like watching Penn Badgley wear T-shirts, you may really enjoy Greetings From Tim Buckley. Otherwise, well, I got nothin'.
Dan Algrant's indie drama purports to explore the mind and soul of Jeff Buckley (Badgley), son of the late singer/songwriter Tim, as he bums around New York City in the summer of 1991 while getting ready to participate in a concert of his father's music organized by legendary producer Hal Willner.
Through his flirtation with a comely production assistant (Imogen Poots), we discover that Jeff is a charismatic but complicated soul, tormented by the absence of his father (played in flashbacks by Ben Rosenfield) even though he barely knew him. This is all really heavy, I guess, because both we and the movie know Jeff will die a few years later in an accidental drowning.
There's a haphazardness to the movie that grows more grating as it goes along, with modern-day cars and even a smartphone turning up in the frame. I might have been more forgiving if Greetings had been a better film - one that kept me so wrapped up in the narrative or the characters that I didn't have time to nitpick.
But Algrant and his co-writers have nothing to say about either Buckley. They're just riding on their tragic legends.