Produced and completed during our current era of COVID, Apples is a strange and accidentally timely import from Greece, following a vacant mind (Aris Servetalis) during the early stages of a pandemic that’s quietly sweeping over the public. Victims who are affected by the unknown sickness lose their memory at the drop of a hat. Those who don’t have any immediate support are referred to a rehabilitation program for the unidentifiable where they must complete and record a series of tasks that will, theoretically, return these individuals to a normal state of mind.
Director/co-writer Christos Nikou includes interesting ideas in his solo filmmaking debut and he shows patience and restraint as a storyteller. But aside from working as an assistant director before this feature, Nikou also comes from a background of making short films and, unfortunately, Apples is a short disguising itself as a feature-length movie.
Movie goers receive a quaint story that has predicted a way of life we couldn’t have predicted otherwise, but it feels very repetitive. By the time Apples has reached a conclusion, it doesn’t feel like the dial has moved by very much. I suppose it could be read as an “anti-resolution”, but it isn’t satisfying enough for viewers who were initially interested in this odd premise.
It isn’t an expectation for filmmakers to make a groundbreaking movie with every effort, especially Nikou who is just getting his feet wet. But, the movie still has to offer a case as to why it’s worthwhile. In an extreme comparison (because that’s always fun and challenging), let’s place the quiet work of Apples next to, say, the bombastic silliness of Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe. The latter movie, even drawing from its 90s predecessor, does not have a significant arc for its dimwitted leads. But, it makes us laugh consistently with writing that reflects contradictive behaviour when faced with arrogance and immaturity. Apples offers some wickedly amusing albeit bleak survival and personal growth skills during a mysterious period in society, but the minor payoff on these big ideas is a letdown.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie