TIFF14 – Day 4

gentlemen

GENTLEMEN ★★

What a disappointment. ‘Gentlemen’ was on my list of the 10 Most Anticipated Films of TIFF14. Mikael Marcimain’s film tells the story of a beaten up, bruised, and scared young writer who hides in a Stockholm apartment, writing the story of its disappeared inhabitants. I had to refer to my previous blog post for that plot description. I couldn’t provide a plot summary based on the movie I saw. Rarely have I been so disoriented. ‘Gentlemen’ gets points for ambition and scope, and while it is handsomely made, this sprawling decades-spanning political conspiracy tale is so overstuffed that my comprehension of this Swedish film would have been just about the same even without the English subtitles. It is difficult to get involved in a movie when the plot means so little. Even with its 141-minute runtime, ‘Gentlemen’ feels rushed and haphazard, transitioning awkwardly from one scene to the next. The big screen doesn’t appear to be the ideal medium for a tale of this complexity.

meet me in mont

MEET ME IN MONTENEGRO ★★★

Art imitates life in Alex Holdridge and Linnea Saasen’s film about an independent filmmaker who has a chance encounter with an old flame while in Berlin. The directors of this picture are a real-life couple and they both star in their own movie with a story that seems modeled on their own relationship. It is romantic without possessing the mechanical elements contained within the genre. The destination may be familiar (even without the title), but the journey has some surprises in store. Though ‘Meet Me In Montenegro’ has a roadmap similar to Richard Linklater’s ‘Before’ trilogy (more so in the relationship between its central characters as opposed to the topics of conversation in dialogue), nothing about this film feels recycled. It has it’s own organic existence; it is autobiographical, but most importantly, it feels autobiographical. Holdridge and Saasen’s characters (i.e. themselves) appear cynical on the surface, but they would have to be wildly romantic to make this movie, even if they don’t admit to it. ‘Meet Me In Montenegro’ isn’t about forever. It’s about now. And it’s good.

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