Restless (12A)

Film image

The ViewBirmingham Review

StarNo StarNo StarNo StarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner19/10/2011

One out of Five stars
Running time: 91 mins

Derivative, irritatingly pretentious drama from Gus Van Sant that completely fails to ring true, thanks to a dismal script, annoying characters, wishy-washy direction and a subplot so jaw-droppingly tasteless that you wonder if the film's actually meant to be a black comedy. (It isn't).

What's it all about?
Directed by Gus Van Sant, Restless stars Henry Hopper (son of Dennis, and it shows) as Enoch, a death-obsessed teenager who's dealing with the loss of his parents by spending all his time chatting to the ghost of a kamikaze pilot (Ryo Kase as Hiroshi) and gate-crashing strangers' funerals. At one such funeral he meets the quirky Annabel (Mia Wasiskowska) and the pair begin a tentative relationship, only for Annabel to reveal that she has terminal cancer.

The Bad
The self-consciously quirky script is painfully derivative, stealing all its ideas from much better films (e.g. the funeral crashing is straight out of Harold and Maude), while the forced-sounding dialogue repeatedly throws up cringe inducingly dreadful lines such as, “I wish I could do more, like take you to the Galapagos” (which is a shame, because the one commendable moment in the film is Annabel's impassioned speech about Darwin). Even the film's achingly hip soundtrack choices are specifically chosen to evoke other films – it's impossible to hear Nico's The Fairest of the Seasons without thinking of The Royal Tenenbaums, for example.

Wasikowska does her best under the circumstances, but Hopper is both bland and annoying as Enoch and there's zero chemistry between them. On top of that, the film wastes talented performers like Jane Adams (as Enoch's aunt) and Schuyler Fisk (appealing but underwritten as Annabel's protective sister), while Kase is lumbered with an extraordinarily tasteless backstory (capped by entirely unnecessary footage of Nagasaki) that's borderline offensive.

The Worse
The film's biggest problem is that it completely fails to ring true, not least because Annabel appears to be the world's healthiest terminal cancer patient. There's also very little in the way of actual plot, since most of the action involves Enoch and Annabel wandering around and spouting their increasingly tedious dialogue – as a result, the pacing quickly slows to a crawl and never really recovers.

Worth seeing?
Badly written, poorly judged and painfully pretentious, Restless is a disappointing drama that fails to engage on an emotional level. Rent Harold and Maude instead.

Film Trailer

Restless (12A)
Be the first to review Restless...
01 Focus (15)

Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro

02 Selma (12A)

David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth

03 Far from the Madding Crowd (tbc)

Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaert...

04 Chappie (tbc)

Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley

05 A Most Violent Year (15)

Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo

Content updated: 17/07/2018 10:36

Latest Film Reviews

Film Blog

Urban Pundit

Keep up to date with everything in film and cinema at Urban Pundit, the exciting new blog.

Film of the Week

The Conjuring (15)

Hugely enjoyable, genuinely scary horror flick that provides a welcome throwback to classic 1970s chillers, thanks to impeccable production design, a superb script, powerfully atmospheric direction, intense set-pieces and terrific performances.

Latest Close Up

Noah Baumbach Interview

The Frances Ha director discusses co-writing the script with Greta Gerwig, shooting against the backdrop of New York and the real lives of the city’s people, Greta Gerwig’s performance, the music in the film and the picture's visual style.