Review by Camden Ferrell
Entwined is a Greek movie that had its premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and has played at several other festivals since. This is the feature directorial debut of Minos Nikolakakis. The movie bears a lot of roots in Greek folktales and culture, but it ultimately comes off as a hollow homage to the stories on which it was inspired.
Panos is a doctor in this movie who is relocated to a small village to work. However, once he meets Danae, a mysterious woman with an odd skin condition, nothing is what it seems. This is a unique premise, and it does attempt to ambitiously recreate the same feeling as many Greek myths, but unfortunately, it’s a narrative risk that doesn’t fully pay off.
The script is one of the most forgettable aspects of the movie. Nothing felt completely out of place, but the characters could have been developed a little more. The screenplay by John De Holland aims to tell a more grounded tale that still maintains the fantasy aspects of the genre, but it never quite hits the mark. It always seems to fall short of anything magical and unfortunately dances with the mundane too often for comfort.
The acting in this movie is fairly decent but not very memorable. Prometheus Aleifer plays Panos, and he does a decent enough job of leading the movie especially through its pretty wacky narrative. He doesn’t go above and beyond what’s required of the role, and it’s pretty unobjectionable if anything. However, Anastasia Rafaella Konidi does give an intriguing performance as Danae even if it doesn’t always make too much sense.
Regardless of what the film lacks, it is actually quite a visual feat. The cinematography is very well-done, and it finds away to create new forms of energy and life with its palette of subdued and subtle colors. It finds a lot of beauty in nature to create the folktale feeling that the director was aiming for. Even if the substance of the movie didn’t always deliver, the visuals were always very beautiful.
It’s obvious that Nikolakakis had a strong connection to the spirit of the film and how it ties into his own cultural heritage. The movie’s attempt to pay tribute to this culture is honorable and obvious, but it doesn’t always work very well in the context of the narrative. It’s a fairly shaky feature debut as a director, but it shows hints of an artistic fervor that just needs the proper outlet.
The most underwhelming aspect of the movie is the potential that was never fulfilled. The movie had lots of elements working in its favor, and it could have been a mythic and thematically rich story that captivated its audience while simultaneously honoring Greek heritage. Unfortunately, in its brief runtime, this movie doesn’t have much that will make it memorable.
Entwined doesn’t fully deliver on its unique and intriguing premise, but for devout fans of Greek mysticism may find some joy in this debut from Nikolakakis. However, for the casual viewer, this movie may be one to skip.
Entwined will be in select virtual cinemas August 28 followed by a VOD release on September 8.
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