15 September 2019 | Surecure
So much potential, so little realization
I saw this at TIFF last week and it was one that I really had high hopes for. The trailer was compelling, the description of it drawing from artists such as David Cronenberg (one of my favourites) certainly piqued my interests, and that it was out of Turkey made it stand out as a top of film I hadn't seen come out of that region.
Sadly, this is one of those unfortunate cases of a very talented visual director clearly not caring enough about narrative or performance to give his film any emotional weight. The story is bare-bones, disjointed, and to be frank has no sense of establishing a believable reality. It's a gift with beautiful packaging where the box is empty inside.
Directors such as David Lynch frequently go into the realm of the ambiguous. However, they always have a narrative line from beginning to end built around memorable characters. The Antenna has none of this. The characters are unrelatable in every fashion to the point where you don't care what happens to them in the least, the situations have no grounding in any set reality, and by the end of the film the only events one can remember are the inciting moment and the event that leads up to the conclusion. One could literally replace parts of the film with anything else and it wouldn't make a single difference to the meaning or the outcome.
Additionally, the cast was seemingly given no direction to make anything even remotely interesting. Near the beginning of the film, the main character goes onto a roof to investigate something and actually walks right to the focal point without looking around for even a second or examining anything. At that point, I was fairly convinced I had seen the height of what the performances in the film would entail. Sadly, I was right.
The film is filled with these paint-by-numbers performances where it is clear the director simply wanted to go through the actions so he could get to a cool camera shot. Encouraging -or even allowing- the performers to explore might actually have saved some of this film. But with an almost non-existent story and actors being given practically no time to perform let alone emote, any emotional weight that could have been was lost.
I will give credit to the director for having a good eye. Quite a number of sequences and camera shots were very unique and well laid out. There were some creative choices in how to present scenes that lend me to believe this director has a future on the visual side. However, he has a long way to go in terms knowing how to build a compelling narrative and how to work with actors to achieve great performances.