Produced by Marco Jocic,
Djordje Stankovic, Filip Kovacevic
Written by Filip Kovacevic,
Masa Senicic, Ivan Senicic
Directed by Filip Kovacevic
Starring Stojan Djordjevic, Daca Vidosavljevic,
Sten Zendor, Vidan Dojcinovic, Bogdan Petrovic,
Tihomir Stanic, Dejan Cicmilovic, Zarko Stepanov
This movie starts off in a very disorienting way.
The main character wakes up and doesn’t know what’s going on. This is in line with the description of the film of, “[a man] with no memory that must run from four assassins only to be reset to the same beginning every time they kill him.”
But really the disorienting part was a very shallow depth of field combined with an ultra wide angle that distorted the edges of the movement.
And we get a lot of camera movement in the first couple of minutes as the camera careens around our hapless protagonist.
Eventually the camera settles down and we get on with the story of discovery and death. It seems like this kind of camera movement was done to evoke an air of manic or psychotic disorientation but it was used in an uneven way through the film that ended up seeming random.
This first film from Serbian director Filip Kovacevic begs the obvious comparison with Groundhog Day as both movies repeat a set of scenes multiple times while combined with memory problems like Memento. But in many ways that is just a thumbnail of what this movie could be but isn’t. The main character is isolated in a way that neither Groundhog Day or Memento does to its main characters. And it is this lack of a rich environment that makes even an 82 minute movie drag.
In an interview with a Serbian film festival Kovacevic described himself as an introvert when he wrote the first draft of the script at 21. He got help from two other writers to help get the final script into a form that was more accessible for an audience and add the voice over narration. He lists Steven Spielberg’s Duel and Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity as his inspirations for a single character working through issues alone in a film.
The Man, he isn’t given another name, stumbles around after each resurrection looking dazed far too much even after he starts getting clues as to what’s going on. There are things in his pocket and object taped to places he can find if he looks. At a certain point it seemed like the old text adventure game or possibly trying to be like the movie Paycheck. It takes him far too long to use the knowledge of his repeated attempts at avoiding the assassins to move the story forward. At one point I was wishing he would go online and get a walk-through of this level so he could get to the next save point.
The main character runs from his masked assassins stumbling across clues. He proceeds to confronting them and battling them but the outcome is always the same: live, die, repeat. Eventually the story gets around to letting you in on what’s going on with the memory and the past of the main character. But to what end.
This highly allegorical story doesn’t seem to have a point or a lesson learned; just a beginning, middle, and end. At most it reminds me of Ambrose Bierce’s An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge or a very nihilistic video game. In the end this existential meditation on the consequences may work for some but not so much for me.
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