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Realism and fantasy collide in Jonathan Lethem's genre-bending coming-of-age story, which follows two estranged brothers as they try to leave New York City for a new life in California only... See full summary »
Anthony M. Bertram
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After a suicide attempt, Lucas, a young homeless man in New York City, is taken in by Jacques, the gruff owner of a small bar. Jacques is on his fifth or sixth heart attack, and he wants Lucas to run the bar after he dies. Jacques has many rules: don't be friendly, don't serve walk-ins, no food or flowers or candles, put the cash in the freezer every night. Lucas, on the other hand, has a good heart: he gives his money away, he talks to customers, and, when April, a young French woman who has washed out of flight-attendant school, enters the bar chilled to the bone, Lucas takes her in. If Jacques won't tolerate April, what will Lucas do? Written by
French-born Icelandic screenwriter and director Dagur Kári's third feature film which he wrote, premiered in the Special Presentations section at the 34th Toronto International Film Festival in 2009, was shot on locations in New York, USA and Iceland and is a France-Denmark-Iceland-USA-Germany co-production which was produced by Icelandic producers Skuli Fr. Malmquist and Thor S. Sigurjónsson. It tells the story about a cynical owner of a bar in New York who after having his fifth heart attack ends up at hospital where he meets a homeless man named Lucas who has been committed due to a suicide attempt. After Lucas is released from the hospital, Jacques picks him up from the streets, insists that he becomes his apprentice and let's him stay in a room at his bar.
Finely and subtly directed by Icelandic filmmaker Dagur Kári Pétursson, this quietly paced fictional tale which is narrated from multiple viewpoints, draws a heartily portrayal of a friendship and somewhat father-son-like relationship between a middle-aged bartender with prospects and an altruistic vagrant. While notable for it's atmospheric milieu depictions, fine production design by Icelandic production designer and actor Hálfdan Pedersen and cinematography by Danish cinematographer Rasmus Videbæk, this humorous, somewhat surreal and existentialistic drama depicts two mindful studies of character and contains a cheerful score by the Icelandic band Slowblow.
This multinational and multilingual independent film about a rare kinship between two men from different generations and lifestyles which is tested by the sudden arrival of a woman named April who shows up out of nowhere, is impelled and reinforced by it's cogent narrative structure, subtle character development and continuity, quick-witted dialog and the prominent, understated, engaging and commendable acting performances by American actor Brian Cox, American actor Paul Dano and French actress Isild Le Besco. An intimate, unsentimental and diverse character piece which gained, among other awards, the award for Best Director Dagur Kári at the Edda Awards in 2011.
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