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November 13, 2015

Movie Review: The Eternal Return of Antonis (2013)

Oh boy. It’s a drama. It also seems to be one of those films that’s making some kind of social commentary on the world at large or whatever. This one comes to us from Greece. To quote the back of the DVD, this movie is a “...dark and artful satire on fame in the modern world.”

Fuck. Me.

The Eternal Return of Antonis is about a man named Antonis (go figure) who has been a television broadcaster for 20 years. Apparently his star is fading so he fakes his own kidnapping to get back into the main spotlight. His buddy either owns or has access to an empty hotel out in the boondocks which is perfect. Antonis can hide out there for a few weeks until it’s just the right time to spring back in the world no worse for the wear!

Though the pantry is kept fully stocked (thanks to his friend’s infrequent visits), and there is plenty to keep him occupied (karaoke, wine and cigars, tennis court, pool, molecular gastronomy DVD) the weeks of isolation take their toll on Antonis and he begins to crack.

Not only does he send a ransom note to the TV station he works for but he also cuts off his own finger as ‘evidence’ that the kidnappers mean business. Eventually (seriously, that wasn’t enough?) an entire colony of bats comes home to roost in Antonis’s belfry and he snaps completely.

That addiction to fame and attention is a bitch, eh?

I'm so ronrey. So ronrey and sadry arone...
I’ve never been hip enough to get most art. I’m not all that smart, either, so sometimes statement pieces or satire go over my head. That’s pretty much the case here because I didn’t find anything in this movie humorous. Of course, satire can also use exaggeration to makes its point and THAT I got. 

There are countless shots of empty space and isolation to show how we, as a society, are quite disconnected from each other. Antonis being alone in all the large spaces of the hotel; lone car driving on the road (the first several minutes of the film to be exact); Antonis and his friend don’t even speak when he’s brought supplies; long empty hallways and ball rooms and courtyards and farmland and woods and OH MY GODS WE FUCKING GET IT!

There’s not even any dialogue until twelve minutes in (I don’t count the DVD cooking show at six minutes) and even that is Antonis speaking to his camera as he records himself.

The actor playing Antonis looks like Eeyore and Sad Sack had the most morose threesome with Negative Nancy. It actually works for the character but daayum. About halfway through the film when Antonis breaks out into the musical number of “I Forgot to Live”, an obvious statement about how he regrets a lot in his life, I had to get a drink. 

Everything is terrible, including my own company.

Let me restate that. I had to get a drink

I don’t really drink. Maybe a couple times a month I like to have a margarita at my local Mexican restaurant or sip on a newly discovered hard root beer that’s awesome (read: I’m a lightweight). And those are usually times reserved for the weekend - like football or meeting up with my girlfriends. PEOPLE, I HAD TO GET BUZZED, ON A WEDNESDAY, IN THE AFTERNOON, TO MAKE IT THROUGH THIS MOVIE.

The only time I felt like I began to engage in the story at all is at the end when Antonis loses his shit entirely. He becomes quite paranoid after weeks of isolation. When he eventually begins to skulk around people he’s completely unrecognizable as his TV personality or even a fully functional human being. I won’t give away the final stop in his trip on the crazy train but it comes so far out of left field it made me gasp out loud.

For my tastes, this was not an enjoyable movie. Like I said, I’m not into art films or statement pieces. Though the actor playing Antonis was believable as a fame whore willing to do anything to remain relevant, the rest of the film felt flat. Now, if you DO like movies that make commentaries on society and culture (and possibly a foreshadowing of Greece’s economic fall), then you’d probably love this. And Lars Von Trier films.

1 Hatchet (out of 5)

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