Thursday, May 14, 2009

Original movie review

[Tribeca Film Festival Movie Review]

This 2009 Swedish absurd dark dramady, is directed by first time feature film directors, Antonio Tublen and Alexander Brondsted and got its world premiere at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Here’s the synopsis from the Tribeca Film site: Henry tries hard to blend in. Most of his life, he has been acting the human chameleon, which has turned him into a pale reflection of other people’s expectations. One day, after having brutally failed and crashed straight into reality, Henry’s best friend Jon talks him into opening a restaurant with him in Spain. Goodbye rain and depression, hello tapas and sangria! Before leaving, though, Henry needs to fix a few things: kidnap his mother from a mental institution, find love in a king-size bed in IKEA, and uncover the truth about his best friend. But nothing turns out as expected, and Henry is caught up in a maelstrom of strange events. Could it be that he is an original rather than invisible?

Last week I talked about the reasons why I love the Tribeca Film Festival, that it presents a lot of lesser known genre and foreign films, as well as being an intimate and personal festival, in the sense that it’s quite easy to find yourself sitting next to or near the directors during the screening and talking with them after, such as with me during this film. I got to this film late after work, I mean I made it by 10 minutes. The 40-50 seat theater was small but packed and I sat down next to these guys with really flamboyant clothes. So before the movie started, the festival director called up the directors and actors of this movie to speak and then my whole row got up and I was like damn, I’m sitting next to the entire crew. So after they spoke, the film started and right when the film ended one of the directors turned to me, Antonio and asked, what did I think of the film? Now I don’t like lying about my film beliefs, if my feelings don’t gel with other people I have no problem keeping quiet and listening to what others have to say, but to the directors face, I would probably be nicer about my thoughts of the film if I hated it. The main actress Tuva Novotny sitting next to the director turned to me and smiled and damn she’s beautiful and I was like this feels awkward. Luckily though I really enjoyed Original and it was nice to be able to tell the truth.

Original is a very methodically paced and personal film. The main tagline for the film is, everyone wants to be special, everyone wants to be original. But really how many people can be original? How many people can be special, and is being ordinary, really all that bad? So yeah this film asks those questions and many others, but the whole time you’re going through this movie, it’s like watching a farce, an absurdest take on a realistic life and world. The main character, Henry, is just as plain and screwed up as can be, but his world around him is so unique, that he becomes unique by just being ordinary. I mean he gets fired from his job, decides to movie to Spain to make Tapas, follows a beautiful girl who sings in a strip club, tries to break his mom out of a mental hospital, ends up smuggling steroids but ends up accidentally using it as detergent then makes some more with sugar and baking powder, then goes to Ikea to film his room to trick his mother that he’s successful. It’s just crazy but everything put together it somehow works. It’s by no means a perfect film, it has a lot of pacing problems, and at times tries to be too absurd for its own good causing some plot and characterization problems, but I mean, it’s a great film from first time directors that I would recommend to anyone that likes to view life through funhouse mirrors. Basically its different and unique enough a film that people should give it a try. So I give this a “bring your lunch from home because you do not want to miss this one” rating. This was the premiere so not sure when it’s going to get its North America release but I’ll let you know when it does.

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