Our reviewer in…Toronto, Maysa Moncao, checks out the latest Wim Wenders film, a drama starring James Franco as a man who accidentally kill a young boy.
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A winter evening. A car on a country road. It is snowing, visibility is poor. Out of nowhere, a sled comes sliding down a hill. The car comes to a griding hault. The driver is Tomas (James Franco), a writer in crisis. The accident involves two little boys, one will die.
The story came to Wenders by mail. The Norwegian author Bjorn Olaf Johannensen sent Wenders a script, after a meeting in Sundance. Somehow Wenders became interested in the theme of guilt and decided to shoot it in 3D, because of the intimacy of the story.
The choice of casting James Franco for the role of the writer came easy, according to Wenders. Franco is not only an actor but also a writer.
Up to here, everything really does seem fine and should attract visibility to the film, right?
Every Thing Will Be Fine is rich in dark tones but lacks in stimulating the audience to a dive into a deeper drama. Gloomy mood, slow moves, dim light do not necessarily drive you into a paranoic state as Bergman or Allen would. Though the movie still carries Wenders’ signature, it doesn’t fix in your head, nor disturb you. I suspect there were many hands in the production and Wenders somehow slept through important moments.
Nevertheless, it is good to recognise some of the recurrent aspects of Wenders as an author, such as:
- His natural capacity of telling stories from the landscapes and geography. A road is not only a road, but life in its core.
- The magical appearance of children. Children in Wenders films (and we can see that in Alice In the Cities and in Wings Of Desire) stand for purity, in opposition to adults, who generally have lost faith. Tomas will somehow during the movie recover his pleasure for life because he is surrounded by children. And possibly the cause of his depression is not a writing crisis, but simply an outcome to the fact that he can’t have children.
- The capacity of saying with signs. Wenders insists on showing us the road signs. What does “Philomena” mean? In Greek, the name refers to “love for music”, which is another recurrent aspect in Wenders’ work.
- The soundtracks compose another story. They are not there to tell you: “now you cry”, or “now you become frighten”. Music is there as a second layer of meaning, so much so as it serves as a video music. In Every Thing Will Be Fine music anticipates tragedy while the characters are happy and ok. It is an antithetical effect.
Most of all Every Thing Will Be Fine errors in the basic system: why 3D? I can see why 3D in Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón) and in Goodbye To Language (Jean-Luc Godard) for total different reasons. But here it doesn’t give me the sense of intimacy at all. Intimacy comes from identification with main characters.
Should you put up with the basics and even so enjoy those few little details I tried to highlight, then it is worthwhile paying for it in the cinemas. It depends on your expectations.
See the official trailer.
EVERY THING WILL BE FINE
GERMANY, CANADA, FRANCE, SWEDEN, NORWAY, DRAMA, 2015, 119 MIN, 3D
DIRECTOR: WIN WENDERS
WITH JAMES FRANCO, CHARLOTTE GAINSBOURG, RACHEL McADAMS
ABOUT THE FILMMAKER: Born in Dusseldorf, Wenders is one of the most respected directors of our time. His work includes “Paris, Texas”, “Alice in the cities”, “Wings of desire”, “Faraway so close”, “Pina”, “Buena Vista Social Club” and “Palermo shooting”.