Sunday, October 14, 2012

Brussels Bound: Olivier Boonjing's "Somewhere Between Here and Now"



First time director Olivier Boonjing has composed a very dark (in the physical light sense) and quiet film. If you have ever been away from "home" for an extended period of time, you can associate with the film's two main characters.

Louise (Lucie Debay) has just returned to her native Brussels from southeast Asia. She dropped everything, left her boyfriend, and has finally returned three years later, with nowhere to go and no one to welcome her back. Adrian (Arieh Worthalter) is looking to leave Brussels, destination unknown. He doesn't know where he's going, but he's all packed up for the trip there. Louise and Adrian meet at a train station, and spend the night following each other around the city, until Adrian sees former flame Zoe (Anael Snoek) and must deal with one of the reasons he may be leaving the city.

Being a former Air Force Brat, I can associate with the flight gene that seems to inhabit many military brats. Airport layovers, unfamiliar customs, jet lag; I've seen and done it all, and Boonjing captures that weird time of night when you are wide awake for no reason, in a place that should be familiar but isn't, and pouring your secrets out to a person you will most likely never lay eyes on again.

The film is not a typical linear storied film. There are not any big revelations during the bittersweet final scenes, and the viewer must pick up any characterization through the selfish (I mean that in a good way) small talk that is spoken. Boonjing uses natural light, rendering some nocturnal moments almost pitch black, and the back and forth use of English and French seems very natural. I came to like Louise and Adrian, even though we only learn as much about them as they are willing to part with. We don't know why these two are drawn to each other, it just happens. Worthalter and Debay have a good chemistry for two people who need each other, but not necessarily in a romantic sense. Foil Zoe is not out to wreck a burgeoning relationship, Adrian sees her by chance, and Snoek does not play her as some predictable harpy driving her former beau out of town. The few instances of music and songs here are nothing short of outstanding.

Scenes do meander, and some of the dialogue is a bit difficult to understand. While this is not as intense as the similarly themed "Cut from Home," "Somewhere Between Here and Now" is an understated slice of life, nicely done. (* * * *) out of five stars. Get this movie now!: Somewhere Between Here and Now