Monday, September 29, 2014

Fantastic Fest 2014 Review: SPRING - Javi's Take

Directed by: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead
Written by: Justin Benson

Starring: Lou Taylor Pucci, Nadia Hilker, Vanessa Bednar and Jeremy Gardner
Synopsis: An American in Italy meets a beautiful young grad student who is hiding a terrible secret.

SPRING is a wonderfully flawed and strangely ambitious movie with a lot of heart. After dealing with the 3-hit combo of losing his mother to cancer, getting into a fight that cost him his job, and being wanted by the police, Tommy just gets on a plane and decides to go to Italy to get away from everything. When he finally makes his way to a gorgeous Italian beach town, he meets the gorgeous Louise. However, between some strange disappearances and her increasingly erratic behavior, Louise is much more than what she appears to be.

The movie has to be one of the more unique movies out of a festival known for outlandish films. There's a little of everything in that there's a story with some heart as well as people being horribly murdered and body horror. The big breakout of the movie is definitely Nadia Hilker who plays Louise perfectly. Instead of being portrayed as a MPDG, she's an insanely charming but aloof grad student who is a wise beyond her years.  It is pretty easy to see how Evan could be smitten with her. Evan is a very competent lead if not a little bland. On the other hand, he's got a lot of emotions bottled up which gives him a little more depth.

The cinematography of this movie is one of the strongest points with the way that the little Italian village is shot. As the movie moves to the setting you see the town being portrayed as the location for a type of Anthony Bourdain destination with beautiful whites and vibrant blue of the ocean as it crashes on the rocks by the shore. Then it abruptly cuts to a scorpion crawling on the ground. As the mystery of Louise grows And we learn more about her the bright colors are replaced by a dull grey and the shots of random insects become more and more frequent. 

While the mysterious part of the movie is great, it's still not easy to tell if they stuck to the landing. The logic behind it ends up sounding like a mishmash of sci-fi logic that is never expanded upon. In conjunction to this, the movie has a bit of an issue in how it handles it tones, and at its worst, it can feel like you're watching two different movies with the same characters.  Despite this, SPRING is one of the more unique movies out this year's Fantastic Fest and should be seen.

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