(director/writer: Lisa Langseth; cinematographer: Rob Hardy; editor: Dino Jonsäter; music: Lisa Holmqvist; cast: Alicia Vikander (Ines), Eva Green (Emilie), Charlotte Rampling (Marina), Charles Dance (Mr. Daren), Adrian Lester (Aron), Mark Stanley (Brian); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Patrik Andersson, Frida Bargo, Charles Collier, Alicia Vikander; Freestyle Releasing/Lionsgate Home Entertainment; 2017)
“A solemn, heavy-going and foolish drama.”
A solemn, heavy-going and foolish drama. This is the English-language debut by Swedish filmmaker Lisa Langseth as writer-director (“Hotel”/”Pure”). It’s a VOD movie release, that is competently produced and visually attractive but limited in scope because of its execution drawbacks.
Estranged sisters, the older Emilie (Eva Green) and the rebellious artist Ines (Alicia Vikander), dine together in an unnamed European country and the next morning take a long drive to a mysterious beautiful location, where they check into an exclusive hotel but can’t leave. We learn Emilie is dying of cancer and wants her reluctant sis with her to catch up on their lives, as she spends her last days at a euthanasia clinic. Charlotte Rampling as Marina, has the creepy role of being Emilie’s companion to assist her in the death watch over a six-day period.
What follows is a talk-fest, as the lead characters fill each other in on their lives. Emilie tells us she has resented Ines for splitting when their parents divorced and later when their mother suffered from depression and couldn’t manage without Emilie’s help, leaving her to do all the heavy lifting. Meanwhile the free-spirited Ines had orgies traveling throughout the world.
Though this should be a tear-jerker melodrama, somehow the tragic lives of the sisters doesn’t register emotionally. The film can never move out of the way of its downer narrative. Charles Dance, although playing an unimportant character, at least enlivens things. He plays the rich Englishman hotel guest with a thing for ‘60s Brit rock, who arranges the music for those on their way to another world.
In the end, when we observe that all the wealthy guests accept the high-cost of euthanasia as their entitlement, we’re left with a cold feeling about the whole elitist closure deal.
REVIEWED ON 6/22/2019 GRADE: C