JACO VAN DORMAEL
Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. / / / /USA/ , . , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Screenplay by . Cinematography by . Produced by . Music by . Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by , .
A remarkably old man is nearing his death at the age of 118 and the world is preparing to lose the last fully mortal human on planet Earth. He is interviewed about his life and flashes back to significant moments in his childhood, his teen years and maturity (at which point he is played by ) but frustrates the journalist questioning him with his inability to keep his story straight: as a child his parents divorced and, in one memory, he chooses to live with his mother and it sets him on a trajectory that sees him married to , in another he stays with his father and has two possible outcomes that see him marrying either or . This thoughtful science-fiction film investigates the pain caused by love and does so in a highly philosophical way, often stopping to have Leto narrate his theories about life, science and chance in ways that eventually make the film feel like a 140-minute exercise in theory and not practice. Intelligently edited so as to never be confusing, Jaco Van Dormael’s film is admirable for its polished construction but, by the end of its long journey, is not exactly rewarding: after all the paths it has led us down, and the poignant revelation in its conclusion, one is left wondering if its characters were worth the effort. Leto’s performance is shallow and his character(s) rarely inspire much sympathy, while Kruger is excellent but has no chemistry with him. The best actors in it, and the ones who generate the most intensity, are and as the main character’s parents, and one often regrets that they are not the film’s main focus (though I suppose that’s also debatable).