12 July 2019 | JvH48
Collection of nice finds and unexpected turns of events. Inventive stories centering around two men their relationships with women and resp. families, spanning several years
Saw this at fhe Film Festival Munich 2019 (in German: Film Fest München). An intriguing collection of nice finds, augmenting the at-first-sight downthrodden path of triangle relationships where two men compete for one woman, but there is so much more at that. A parallel topic is male bonding, said to be stronger than between man and wife but even so often falsified, but nevertheless working out surprisingly here in a very original way. We watch a series of separate stories, mostly some time passed in between, each having the same two men as center of attention. Each chapter carries a specific title, foreshadowing what we are going to see as dramatic development(s). For instance, in the first chapter with the title "I'll kill you!" comes to light that one of the men had a sexual relationship with the fiancée of the other one (no fatalities, however, despite the title of this chapter).
That said, I would have preferred that each of the chapters was introduced not only with an intriguing title but also with some context and a time frame. A spoiler-free example of the latter is the start of chapter 2. We obviously attend a funeral, but I was left too much time wondering who and why. Th "who" question is answered implicitly when the funeral leader invites "her husband" to say something. The "why" remains unanswered, and ditto how much time elapsed between chapter 1 and 2. The chapter ends in a very unusual way, when the husband gets into a fight with churchyard personnel around a shovel. Expect more such unexpected turns of events in this movie. This is one of its trademarks.
My feeling that I had to grasp for context happened similarly with subsequent chapters, where new protagonists were thrown on us without telling who-was-who. Nevertheless, the respective stories become clear after some time to get acquainted. Most important aspect of this movie is that the turns of events are unexpected and ample humor is included, contrasting with the also prevalent sadder moments. It all makes up a perfect mix. In other words, just like real-life outside the cinema runs its course, with ups and downs, and for better or for worse.
When ignoring the flaws in storytelling (assuming these flaws are real and not just my fault), watching this movie is a rewarding experience, not the least of the humor-riddled dialogs. Take for instance a "how long" question in the opening chapter, that was answered "still 2 miles", obviously not the assumed answer how long the offending sexual relationship had lasted. And the "I'll kill you!" exclamation was not to be taken literally, as we can see when the front cyclist hits a passing car, triggering its driver to leave the car and tries to attack him. The ranks are closed very fast in their combined effort to contain the angry car driver, and the earlier death threat is forgotten on the spot.
All in all, each of the chapters has its own merits, are well written and treat relevant situations and real people with real attitudes and opinions. The stories are diverse in topic and show different people in different circumstances, sharing our two main protagonists as common denominator. Indeed, their connection and their chemistry remain the central theme throughout the running time. Seeing them go through all these phases and events makes watching this movie a memorable experience.