Sundance Review: ‘Here’

Let’s just keep things causal. I’m writing formal reviews all week, I thought that these reviews for the blog could be a little less formal.


Directed by Braden King
Starring: Ben Foster and Lubna Azabal

I was ready for another stellar Ben Foster performance. If I’m being entirely truthful, I’d have to say that Ben Foster was the only reason I chose to see this movie. He’s a great actor, and I’ve made it a point never to miss one of his roles. Even though he’s good here, he’s overshadowed by the director’s constant artsy filming for art’s sake.

I’m not against “artsy” movies. I really don’t even know how to quantify that descriptor, but being a casual conversation, you all know what I mean when I say artsy. Foster plays a cartographer who falls in love with a local woman while he’s mapping Armenia. When the story focuses on them and their relationship, the movie excels. I liked them and their chemistry. However, for no rhyme or reason, nutty montages of warped imagery and strobe lights flash by throughout the film, pulling us directly out of the story.

Director Braden King explained in his Q&A, that he wondered what it would be like if “a movie dreamed.” Apparently, flashing lights and unfocused images are what he came up with. Agreed, that’s his vision and he’s entitled to it, but he’s got two perfectly good leads who he abandons completely while his film provides more over-indulgent arty fluff.

Heads in the audience were lulling during those scenes, and these aren’t your normal “Let’s go see Transformers crowd. These are film festival-goers. They’re used to more avant-garde, progressive films, but even they were bored by this.

In short, Foster and Azabal are great as the leads, but they’re hampered by a director who’s trying to fit way too much into such a simple story.

Side note: It’s really weird seeing the exact actress up on stage doing a Q&A that you just saw topless in the movie.

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