(director/writer: Alexis Dos Santos; screenwriter: Marianela Maldonado; cinematographer: Jakob Ihre; editor: Olivier Bugge Coutte; music: ; cast: Déborah François (Vera), Fernando Tielve (Axl), Michiel Huisman (X-Ray Man), Iddo Goldberg (Mike), Richard Lintern (Anthony, Axl’s dad), Katia Winter (Hannah), Al Weaver (Kevin); Runtime: 92; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Soledad Gatti-Pascual/Peter Ettedgui; IFC Films; 2009-UK-in English, Spanish and French, with English subtitles)
“If it weren’t for the kick-ass pop soundtrack, with tunes like Hot Monkey, I would have tuned out long before the last reel.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Indie romantic-comedy-drama from Argentine writer-director Alexis Dos Santos (“Glue”) has luminous photography and sets a perfunctory decadent mood for the dullish Eurotrash squatters living a joyless life experimenting with sex and playing mindless games to sate a carefree lifestyle. A disposable minimalist film for the slacker youths who do their aimless thing in swinging London, while underneath their ennui and fucked-up state show human signs that they are still concerned with finding their identity and some meaning in their life (the really dull part of the film). If it weren’t for the kick-ass pop soundtrack, with tunes like Hot Monkey, I would have tuned out long before the last reel. The soundtrack offers existentialist lyrics such as the one from Hot Monkey: “Hot ass, cold beer — no future, no past — cheap thrills.” Too bad the harmless flick didn’t have a badass story to match those challenging angst-driven lyrics.
The gentle plotless flick follows primarily two lost soul squatters trying to find themselves: The angelic-like 20-year-oldAxl (Fernando Tielve). He boasts that he has slept in more than 20 beds since moving from Spain to London’s hip East End (boho), where he squats in a loosely-structured commune of twenty-somethings in a warehouse. Axl is searching for his English dad, who deserted his Spanish mom when he was a child. The other featured character is the disillusioned Frenchwoman bookseller Vera (Déborah François), a drifter who is trying to rebound from a hurtful breakup and meets on the cute a stranger (Michael Huisman) whom she screws without either revealing their identity or addresses. He turns out to be a pop rock singer in The Lost and Found club, ironically owned by Mike (Iddo Goldberg) who is in charge of the commune where Vera squats. When Vera finds her mysterious lover there, we are left wondering if this relationship will lead to the love she’s looking for. While Axl after secretly meeting his normal, nice-guy realtor father (Richard Lintern) in the guise of renting a flat, never reveals who he is as he asks himself if he wants to be normal and let his dad into his life.
Dos Santos’s film is promising and pretty to look at, but is clunky and indulges itself too much with these tiresome self-indulgent charmer juvenile idlers–which adds little, if anything, to our understanding of contemporary youth culture in the West and is only marginally entertaining.The main protagonists seem to talk to each other seriously only when drunk or when wearing animal masks.
REVIEWED ON 1/28/2011 GRADE: C+ https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/