By: Addison Wylie
For a while, Atlantic. was the most relaxed I had felt at this year’s festival. Incredibly shot sequences of Fettah windsurfing across the infinite drink eased me into a trance. Its angelic score cradling the audience is the final nuance Atlantic. has that completely sends us into adoration with these moments of Jan-Willem van Ewijk’s tranquil tale.
Alas, Atlantic. follows a bothersome and oddly common theme at this year’s TIFF. Atlantic. eventually drifts away from its strengths and heads straight into boredom.
It’s a rare occasion where character development actually hurt Ewijk’s work. There’s too much of it bogging down an otherwise weirdly interesting “man with no name”. Actor Fettah Lamara knows how to work with his role of a wanderer and knows how to draw movie goers in when he’s having to utilize survival skills. He doesn’t fare so well when he has to flesh this stranger out through the character’s family and acquaintances. This maybe could’ve worked if filmmaker Jim Jarmusch took the reigns from Ewijk, but it’d still be a long shot.
Ewijk and co-writer Abdelhadi Samih’s drawn out story and meandering dialogue take the brunt of the blame, but Ewijk’s filmmaking shares some of it too. At first, Atlantic. is showing nods to Terrence Malick’s expansive work without ripping off the acquired taste. However, soon enough, the film becomes an embarrassing copycat of Malick’s style. Just listen to Fettah’s lifeless whispered narration. There’s hardly any motive or heart behind it. It’s only here to sound like Malick’s poetry.
Atlantic. was winning me over with its meaningful scenes of secluded self-reflection. It’s too bad the rest of the film teeters on parody.
Atlantic. screens at TIFF on:
Sunday, September 14 at 9:30 a.m. @ Scotiabank Theatre
For more information on the festival, visit the official TIFF webpage here.
Check out the Atlantic. TIFF page here.
Buy tickets here.
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