Review by Camden Ferrell
Never Gonna Snow Again is a movie that premiered at the 2020 Venice International Film Festival. It was also the Polish submission for Best International Feature for the 2021 Academy Awards. This movie is written and directed by Malgorzata Szumowska and Michal Englert. It may have its slow moments, but this is a unique and well-executed movie about the lost souls of the upper middle class.
Zhenia is a Ukranian migrant in Poland. He makes a living by taking in-house calls and visits as a masseur to a gated and well-off community. There he learns of each of their unique and daily struggles, woes, and secrets. His excellent massages make him a hot commodity in the neighborhood where dives deeper into these people’s lives and spirituality. This is a unique and simple premise that works really well in pulling the audience in with its story.
The script by Szumowska and Englert is intriguing if not always refined. The dialogue does a great job of characterizing the community while creating a subtext of social commentary that it delivers upon later in the movie. There are some scenes that aren’t written particularly well, but as a whole, the dialogue is more compelling than not.
The movie is led by Alec Utgoff who plays Zhenia. As an immigrant in his country of work, he’s an outsider, and he’s not as accustomed to the country and its people. As a result, he doesn’t have much dialogue, but he does a great job acting regardless. He plays off of the other actors very well with a more subdued performance that still speaks volumes. It’s impressive how he’s able to accomplish this, and his performance is one of the highlights of the film.
The direction of this movie is mostly strong. They have a great way of blocking scenes and communicating the story through non-verbal means. This is especially true thematically since aside from a final line of text on screen, everything else is conveyed a lot more subtly. The movie also combines some more spiritual and fantasy-like elements into its story, and it does a strong job of not feeling too out of place. There are some moments in the final half that really steam roll the film’s momentum, and it seems to hinder its ability to finish strong. However, there are still a lot of commendable aspects working in the film’s favor.
Never Gonna Snow Again is a quiet yet thematically strong story told through the eyes of an immigrant masseur. It features a strong script and solid execution from the duo of Szumowska and Englert and a great leading performance that almost make up for its shortcomings.
Never Gonna Snow Again will be in select theaters July 30.