Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. Greece, 2015. Faliro House Productions, Greek Film Center, Haos Film. Screenplay by Athina Rachel Tsangari, Efthymis Filippou. Cinematography by Christos Karamanis. Produced by Maria Hatzakou, Christos V. Konstantakopoulos. Production Design by Anna Georgiadou. Costume Design by Vasileia Rozana. Film Editing by Matthew Johnson, Yorgos Mavropsaridis. Independent Spirit Awards 2016. Toronto International Film Festival 2015.
Six men on a yachting trip are due to return to Athens in a couple of days but find that they have run out of ways to amuse themselves. One of them suggests a formless game of dares and challenges that they each invent for the others, amassing points for feats of all kind from insignificant athleticism (putting together a Rubik’s cube) to the primal male obsession with comparing boners. The goal is to win a ring that declares the victor “the best in general”, for no reason other than the chance to boast, and no one is allowed to leave the boat until the game is over even if it means staying on after they have returned to the city. Wills are tested, loyalties pledged and enemies made, insecurities are brought to the forefront and director Athina Rachel Tsangaris cleverly skewers the competitive nature of the male psyche with a one-joke premise. The many impressive elements (moody photography, great performances, smart dialogue) don’t add up to anything particularly inspiring as the experience is primarily theoretical and not emotionally involving, the characters shallow and their presence as allegories (the upper crust Greek men playing games leads to similar shenanigans below deck) amounting to one joke spread out over an entire movie.