Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Samotari" (Language - Czech) (2000) - Movie Review

Nothing more is detrimental for a film wherein the characters are so self aware of their presence in a film. Here is my first Czech film that has quite a varied dysfunctional characters from the every day lives and all of them begin, wander and jump on a conversation with no connection whatsoever to each of those dialogues. Directed by David Ondricek, it has all the characteristics and ambition of being the kind of film that oozes with urban dysfunctional property to provide an insight into the human emptiness and illogical emotions only to fall flat without making a mark.

The film begins with a couple Petr (Sasa Rasilov) and Hanka (Jitka Schneidrova) beginning the first incoherent exchange of the movie. Both appear to be happy but as soon as they head out, Petr meets up with his friend Robert (Mikulas Kren) who is going to introduce Petr with a new girl. Soon we find out how Robert cruelly plotted the facade of the breaking relationship between Petr and Hanka. This leads to the break up and then we go onto meet Jakub (Jiri Machacek), a pot head who is the only person that has a legitimate reason to utter meaningless lines. Then there is Ondrej (Ivan Trojan) the brain surgeon who seem to be sane at start only to learn the crazy obsessive stalker within him. These characters are all connected as expected and that does not make much to the film either.

“Samotari” translates to “Loners”, an apt title on these people who despite their status in any form of relationship are destined to wander in the their lonely soul in this cute vibrant city. Petr is a radio jockey playing tunes and running life commentaries that are purely heard by few of the characters. Hanka does not really have a job but she is moving back to her parent’s house. Her mom is a typical mom with an extra shot of craziness. Hanka talks and behaves normal but she takes a turn for the worse in the middle of the film as she falls for the pothead. Then there is Robert, the most obnoxious and psychopathic character in the film who enjoys filming emotional destruction. He appear to take pleasure in it not because he enjoys it but has proof of his extensive nature to get cruelly dirty. He takes pride in those.

The film carries some really cool tunes with bass and charm. It does aid some of the bland scenes but then again, a film has to have more than an impressive sound track. “Samotari” does not have a plot nor has an agenda. It wants to take a cross section of this city through these people and say that human mind and emotions acts on random movements of unexplained instincts. People fall in love, get out of love, stalk, taunt and hurt people with ease and move on with their life. That indeed is a deep concept but it requires some immaculate screenplay and terrific acting. The film suffers from the absence of both of those.

I forgot to mention Vesna (Labina Mitsevka) the out of towner (or even country) a bartender who falls for the machinating and scheming Robert. Robert goes out of the way to hurt her but they barely know each other and Vesna takes much hurt in this than one would expect. What is the deal with Robert anyway? He has a sick mother he clearly loves but seem to have utter disregard for his friends or their emotions. And then there is the utterly chaotic Ondrej who made a better life for himself after he went obsessive over Hanka during his school days. He is married to Lenka (Dana Sedlekova) and has two daughters. An accident brings the name of Hanka into his attention and he throws everything he has to spiral into his old methods of obsession. What drives him to be that way despite the constant rejection of Hanka? He got over her once from young and restless mind and why would he give up all of those? “Samotari” appears to follow a haywire of a pattern on its character’s behaviour that are driven with instincts which has no logic. And I am not saying that because I cannot agree more on the illogical nature of human emotions but here it does the erratic route of jumping around purely to be boasting about how hip it is.

In any film, you should be able to relate or be attracted or impressed by at least one character. You come to care for them regardless of their behaviour that would go against your nature. “Samotari” sadly had none of those for this reviewer. This does not mean that the film is completely devoid of merits. It has some obvious talents that is keen on looking on the human impulsiveness and at the same time aiming for a new presentation in a film. Unfortunately there appears no investment to flesh out more detail and interest in the dialogues these people speak. Because of this we are left bland and emotionless despite the continuous broken hearts and dying feelings.

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