Friday, 8 July 2016

REVIEW - NOBODY WANTS THE NIGHT (ISABEL COIXET)


Somewhere within Isabel Coixet's Nobody Wants the Night lies a work of brilliance; somewhere within it lies a work of utter trash. It's a film of opportunities grasped, missed and carelessly snatched at, taking in whatever trails of quality it can. Watching it, one is engaged, baffled, moved, underwhelmed, intrigued, bored, impressed and outraged; most curious of all is that a film so fascinating in its failures and so admirable in its successes is yet so roundly mediocre in its final effect. Recalling films of similarly varying standards, provoking mixed responses in the viewer, how odd that Nobody Wants the Night should exist in such a state and yet provoke little more, and indeed little less, than apathy overall. It barely comes together in one's mind since it functions only slightly in its intentions (or in what we can make of its intentions) - too shallow and lyrical for a philosophical inquiry or character piece, yet too cheap and cloistered for a grand epic drama. The extreme North setting is quite enchanting, in a strangely scary kind of manner, though Coixet's focus is drawn inward, out of the cold and into her protagonists' fragile enclosure; she develops a palpable intensity of emotion between these two curious characters, not least due to committed performances from Juliette Binoche and Kikuchi Rinko (alas, another example of racial miscasting). Yet the film's positive attributes are near-consistently undercut by filmmaking incompetence at seemingly every stage in the production process, begetting a film that never properly connects with the viewer, so uncertain is it of precisely the kind of film it ought to be. A serious case of smoothing out was required in order to turn Nobody Wants the Night into that kind of film, whether that be brilliance or utter trash. As it is, it's a bit of both.