Bokeh (Geoffrey Orthwein and Andrew Sullivan, 2017): USA

Reviewed by Rachel Gately. Viewed during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2017.

Once upon a time there were two aspiring filmmakers who really, really wanted to make a box office hit. They tried swords and then they tried lasers. The tried red lights in August. Still, they really, really wanted to make a box office hit. Back to the drawing board they went. Day in and day out, they drew on the board. They drew drama, comedy, documentary, and action. They drew epic, thriller, superhero, and fantasy. Still, they really, really wanted to make a box office hit.

Then one day one turned to the other and said, “By George, I think I’ve got it! Let’s make a movie with only two players. Let’s put them somewhere they can be all alone. Let’s make it creepy and sci-fi and bursting with sexy.”

“Hm,” said the other, “That sounds like a plan. I went to Iceland once. Let’s go there again. No one will know what we don’t want them to know. They’ll think we were creative. They’ll think we’re the bomb. We’ll see our names in lights. We’ll get lots of sexy.”

So off they went with two players in tow to a land far away in a galaxy close by. When they arrived they worked out an agreement to neatly display a town and country in drone shots. Here is the church, here is the steeple. Open the doors, and oops, no more people. With everyone gone, on the government’s dime, shooting began around half past no time.

With dialogue cheesy and a predictable plot they set out to fool some unscrupulous tots. All was going well in this place with no nighttime. The players walked tightrope while balanced on plane wings until one fell off, which they cleverly thought of as just the right ending to their tricky-fi drop-off. Haven’t they seen Le Bonheur or read tortured authors? Noir not their thing: stuck in Twilight Zone non-grata?

When they were done they named it Bokeh, a photography term that means out of focus. Ironic is this cuz the one thing they got was the beautiful country in full color and bright shots. Panning the countryside or close on the subjects, the camera work soars. Bravo. Well done.

Agreement complete, a successful commercial, in a town in a country with gorgeous expanses. “Is this it?” the two wondered. Was this their big hit? Will this bring the house down, get them cred and then sexy? It’s all up to you now, dear movie-goer. Will you throw them a bone or toss  down to the gutter?


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