EmptyVenice Film Festival, Venice Days
By Ray Bennett
VENICE -- Sallie Aprahamian's film is a dour romance involving a man conflicted following the death of his domineering father and a woman who feels trapped having to look after a disabled partner.
Written by leads Dan Fredenburgh and Doraly Rosa, the story is set in England amidst the Jewish community of North London but aside from some local color, that has little to do with it. Dreary characters and an indifferent storyline will keep the film within British borders and not make much of a mark there either.
Jake (Fredenburgh) is gloomy about his conflicts with his late father and restless in his five-year engagement to Zoe (Olivia Williams). After the funeral, he wanders into a cafe where a waitress, Becca (Rosa), prevents his wallet being stolen.
When he goes back to thank her, Jake is smitten and pursues her while she grapples with the by now thankless task of taking care of boyfriend Chester (Paul Bettany), an ex-boxer who has had a severe stroke.
The story plays out conventionally, with time spent at the dead man's atmospheric and soon to be sold bespoke tailor shop, the woman's cafe, where Rita Tushingham shows up as a concerned relative, and Chester suffering at home.
There is little in the filmmaking to distinguish the picture, although Bettany impresses as the wounded athlete and Rosa is an attractive screen presence, but otherwise the characters and their fate foster little interest.
Production companies: Axiom Films, Cinema Two
Cast: Dan Fredenburgh, Doraly Rosa, Paul Bettany, Olivia Williams, Rita Tushingham
Director: Sallie Aprahamian
Screenwriters: Dan Fredenburgh, Doraly Rosa
Producer: Douglas Cummins
Director of photography: Jean-Louis Bompoint
Production designer: Michael Kane
Music: Laura Rossi
Costume designer: Caroline Harris
Editor: Brand Thumin
Sales agent: Maximum
Not rated, 112 minutes