A lonely private investigator is contacted by a mysterious woman who pulls him into a mind game known as 'telephone walking'. Fascinated by her voice, Aloys discovers an imaginary universe that allows him to break out of his isolation.
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Aloys Adorn is a middle aged private detective who lives and works with his father. He experiences life from a safe distance, through a video camera he keeps recording 24 hours a day, and the massive collection of surveillance tapes he organizes and obsessively watches at home. But when his father dies, Aloys is left on his own and his sheltered existence begins to fall apart. After a night of heavy drinking, Aloys wakes up on a public bus to find that his camera and precious observation tapes have been stolen. Soon after, a mysterious woman calls to blackmail him. She offers to return the tapes if Aloys will try an obscure Japanese invention called 'telephone walking' with her, using his imagination as their only connection. As he is drawn deeper and deeper, falling in love with the voice on the other end of the phone, the woman opens up a new universe that may allow Aloys to break out of his isolation and into the real world.Written by
New Europe Film Sales
Honestly, I don't know how I stumbled across this film. I was just minding my own business, looking for a movie to watch and so I checked my 2016 watchlist. When I checked it a film called 'Aloys' was starring back at me. So I told myself that if I could find it, I would watch this little film. A little film that I couldn't even remember wanting to see. But find it, I did. The best way to really describe this film is that it's a hybrid between 'Her' and something like 'Synecdoche New York'. Simply put, this is a romance of sorts that has a lot of visual metaphors. It's a kind of bizarro little film that feels like a bunch of friends put together just because they could.
Mainly the film is about a private investigator who recently lost the one person he was close to, his father. The film picks up shortly after the funeral for his dad. As the films goes along we see that this man is stuck in a deep rut. He's completely isolated from the world and does nothing but secretly tape people and then re-watch it over and over. That is, until he gets his camera robbed.
From then the robber begins calling him and telling him that he needs to get out of his shell if he wants his stuff back. The woman and him form a relationship over the phone and fall for each other. They do this by simultaneously imagining themselves with each other doing mundane tasks. Eating food together, talking at a table, playing the piano etc. Of course both of them are just sitting in their own rooms picturing it.
The film does a great job showing that these people can have a genuine connection. Both helping each other break out of their own shells. While both of these characters are horribly depressed the film manages to be incredibly fun to watch at points. There's a wonderful scene where they throw a party at Aloys (private investigator man) house. Where all the people Aloys has come into contact with during the movie are dancing and having a good time.
This is what really surprised me about this film. Where 'Her' Focuses on relationships this film focuses more on people in relationships. And It has a great grasp on its characters. They are both sad, lonely people but they both have distinct voices. We understand them and their struggle. Which just makes us want to see them connect more.
For me, 'Her' is a far superior film but 'Aloys' has quite a few surprises up its sleeve for anyone willing to give it a chance. It talks a lot about relationship expectations vs reality without becoming sappy or unbelievable. We see these two picture themselves in a perfect, bright, colorful, happy relationship when they haven't even met each other. And its this realization that hits you time and time again throughout these sequences.
And every time it does you just feel a little worse. There was numerous times when I was just yelling, "TAKE HER OUT FOR REAL!" to myself. While this is a film that I do like, it isn't perfect. As it marches to the finish it starts to feel a bit full of itself. There are times when we jump around between reality and numerous different fantasies and I was left wondering, why? I wanted an explanation for all of it that never came.
It felt like the film didn't really know where to go near the end. So, it just threw in various dream like sequences that didn't fit with what was happening. That being said, the last shot of the film almost completely redeems it. It's the basic, so close but so far. And it works so amazingly well for this movie.
Overall, I really liked this movie. It's genuinely well constructed and written. But what makes this film work, is the characters. You actually know and like these two people. They share a bond that feels real. Even outside of the main romance, this film feels like a movie made by someone who's been in the business for a while. It's breathtaking in it's style, framing, and blocking of shots. If the end was tightened up this could've been one of my favorite films of the year. As it is, this is still a great movie that I quite enjoyed.
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