Sometimes you see a film and conclude you’re just not the audience it’s aimed at – Gus Van Sant’s Restless is such a film.
In short it’s the story of Enoch (Henry Hopper) who hangs around other people’s memorial services for the kick and eventually meets, and falls in love with, terminally-ill cancer sufferer Annabel (Mia Wasikowska).
The problem is that nothing really happens. Or at least nothing of consequence. The film sets it self to explore the meaning and value of life and death and then doesn’t deliver.
Between hanging around with Hopper’s pet ghost – a WW2 kamikaze pilot played by Ryo Kase – they practice her death scene, trick or treat, have sex and draw chalk outlines of themselves on curiously empty roads.
That’s all that happens – there’s no real plot and the characters don’t really develop.
Hopper is wasted in a role that requires little of him beyond pouting and occasionally shouting – think Ryan Phillippe in Cruel Intentions minus the decent script.
Meanwhile Wasikowska plays the healthiest ‘dying’ girl ever seen on the big screen – this is a girl who is weeks away from death yet she looks fitter than your average film reviewer.
Worse than the throwaway characters is the way the script introduces plot elements which are then either not explained or simply make no sense.
Crucially it’s never made clear if Kase’s ghost is real or a figment of Enoch’s imagination. This is actually quite important because of something which happens at the film’s end.
The script makes a huge fuss over the difficultly Enoch has faced in buying Annabel the Xylophone she’s always wanted, never does it occur to him to order it from Amazon.com!
Clearly this is meant to be a deep and moving love story but it’s likely only to be enjoyed those who think the yawn-inducing Twilight saga is worth the price of admission.
Our verdict: 2/5