The Sign Painter is a Latvian tragicomedy about a young artist who bears witness to the dramatic political upheavals of the WWII era. As brutal regimes come and go, his country, his village, his people, and even his heart are swept up in the inexorable currents of history.Written by
Movie that tries to be too much at once, but unfortunatly fails in most departments
I'm Latvian, and I'm patriot, and I've even spent a lot of my childhood in the locations near our Eastern Russian border, where this movie's plot was happening and where it was shot, so I had reasonably high expectations for this movie. Also in the last few years our local movie studios have started to make a really decent movies, especially historic ones, so I did expect that this one will keep rising the standards of our local moviemaking. Boy, I was wrong.
Unfortunatly this movie left a lot to be desired - plot was trying to be a romantic drama (and comedy) set on the top of politic/social/war stage, cinematography tried to follow the latest modern trends, and cast of mostly unknown actors was trying to give a fresh feel to this flick, but unfortunatly it failed in all three areas...
Plot was boring, badly paced and intended bits of non-linear storytelling made some bits even straight confusing, and I imagine it would be even worse for the people who have not read the source novel first. Cinematography was poor. Artistic choice of making every...single...shot to have an angled horizon was just painful to watch - instead of serving as a nice touch and bringing some fresh framing to the scenes, it left me wondering whether the film crew simply had a problem with a camera dolly leveling... And acting was far from what I expected after reading news articles about "cast of young, fresh talents" - there was absolutely no chemistry between any of the main characters in the love triangle, or between anyone else, for that matter. The dull expressions and awkward clumsiness of the lead actor was not so much portrail of his character, as it was simply a bad acting. Asking actors to speak in three languages, most of which were not their native, didn't help at all.
In conclusion - maybe if this movie would've been conceived, shot and launched in theaters a few years earlier, before the numerous other latest Latvian historic dramas, it would be a somewhat decent movie by itself, but given the good Latvian movies shot lately, this was a really dissapointing in comparison. 5 out of 10 stars from me.
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