FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: “Aloys” stars Georg Friedrich (Wild Mouse, Bright Nights), Tilde von Overbeck, Kamil Krejcí (Quantum of Solace, The Wicked Uncle), Yufei Li, Koi Lee, Sebastian Krähenbühl (Lepus, Flucht), and Karl Friedrich. It is written and directed by Tobias Nölle (Wonderland, René [short]). After a lonely private detective’s (G. Friedrich) evidence tapes are stolen, he is challenged by the woman (Overbeck) who stole them to commit to a myth known as “telephone walking.” From there, the detective’s mind his opened, altering his sense of reality.
I’ve been meaning to dip back into the international realm of cinema for a while now. So far, all I’ve reviewed from another country is “The Bicycle Thief” (which was genius). That’s not to say that we should be seeing more films from other countries, but as a filmmaker and film enthusiast, it’s always great to step out of one’s comfort zone and see what the world is making outside of the States. And what better way to do that than with an app called MUBI. Curating a wide variety of award-winning, independent, and international sleepers, this movie tool is great for any lover of cinema and looking to expand their palette. No, this isn’t a paid advertisement (as if I get enough readers for this site to be worth the promotion). I’m merely just letting those who are curious know that there is a steaming service out there that has lesser known pictures. With that said, onto the review for 2016’s Switzerland piece, “Aloys.” If you’re looking for an experimental experience that takes the theme of loneliness and turns it on its head, you’ve come to the right place. Then again, is it really about loneliness? I have no idea. “Aloys” is about a lot of things, all executed in a bizarre fashion that is a bit complicated to follow. Centering around a gloomy private detective who is taken down a trippy journey of telephone walking when a woman steals his scandalous video tapes, “Aloys” walks us through a character assessment, picking apart this detective while exploring many ideas on what it means to actually live on this earth, all through the lens of science fiction. But don’t think stars and galaxies when I say this. Science fiction, while holding a strong grip on this narrative, is very grounded, giving way to a more experimental side of things. There’s really no easy way to go about viewing this hour and thirty minute venture. It sucks you in, digs into you, and doesn’t let go until you’re writhing on the floor wondering what just happened. I’m sure another watch would warrant some understanding, but I review films after an initial viewing so… c’est la vie I guess. That’s a phrase quoted more than once in this picture, and all for good reason. From what I didn’t understand of “Aloys” I found mesmerizing. From what I did understand, I found intriguing. It’s certainly not perfect, but it’s fresh, and I had no clue where this journey was going to take me. Honestly, the movie could be split into two parts, as the first and second half feel like two different narratives. The first is a straight detective drama, as our hero tries to investigate who this woman is who stole his tapes. It’s strange in how everything is carried out. What I thought would be a pure mystery really devolved itself into a form of madness, as the detective knew he was being followed by her, but couldn’t figure out who she was. I thought he wasn’t going to solve this case until the end, but then things changed. Pretty much, the string of clues given in the first half were all tied by by the middle of the feature, instead leading us down a different path where the private detective and strange woman explore a scientific/experimental approach to their loneliness that takes a dark turn. From that point, I couldn’t flip heads or tails as to what was being relayed to me. It went from realism to abstract, and only then do you have to lose yourself to a more message-driven narrative. Average popcorn-goers would hate it, but I was intrigued. The cinematography is downright beautiful, definitely beating a lot of what’s in theaters now. The performances are also great, and the fact that I knew none of the actors made me really get lost with them in their characters. It was a raw experience to witness, and I enjoyed that aspect. Really, where this film loses its quality is its execution. The flow is all over the place as there is a lot this movie is trying to present while shifting its direction at the same time. Certain characters are brought up and never developed (like a former flame to the titular character), and the story’s unwillingness to explain elements can make things difficult (not like I need to be spoon-fed, but some clue-in would be nice). But I will say that “Aloys” offers an experience unlike any other, and has some wonderful moments that exemplify what I know it’s trying to get at. I’m sure if I re-watch it, I’ll take better joy in it. Either way, it’s worth checking at. FINAL SCORE: 86%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: