God Loves Caviar (2012)

YANNIS SMARAGDIS

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  B

Greece, 2012.  Alexandros Film, Stella Studio.  Screenplay by Yannis Smaragdis, , .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

A biopic about eighteenth century pirate-turned-business mogul Ioannis Varvakis sounds like a terrific idea, but this one falls flat almost from the very beginning. Director Yannis Smaragdis films the project in English, presumably because it got him a better budget for the plush trappings and also to increase its viability on the world market, but his inability to direct in the language is obvious given that the international cast of actors with their variety of accents don’t seem to ever know that they are saying.  does his best to make something of the role of Varvakis, who caused terror on the seas before winning a victory for Catherine the Great (portrayed by a confused Catherine Deneuve) and being posted in Minsk where he built an impressive business on caviar. A daughter born from an abandoned wife joins him as an adult and does her best to provide one deep human connection amid all the fair weather friends and the comforts of prostitutes, but eventually her disappointment in his outcome of greed and ambition sours her against him as well. Not that it is particularly clear what the trajectory is: any story Smaragdis is actually trying to tell is wholly obscured by rhetorical dialogue and roundabout plotting that feels like the actual movie is always happening in another room. It’s a complete dud, one of the worst films of its year and wholly worth avoiding.

Toronto International Film Festival:  2012

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s