Strand Releasing

Much like its title, Daniel Sanchez Arevalo's Spanish feature "DarkBlueAlmostBlack" (referring to the color of a business suit) is too ungainly and awkward for its own good.

Overstuffed with incidents and subplots, this ambitious drama about the conflict between personal ambitions and family responsibilities has its affecting moments but ultimately is unconvincing.

The central character, Jorge (Quim Gutierrez), has more than a few issues with which to contend. He has to abandon his business studies and work part time as a janitor when he is forced to care for his father (Hector Colome) who has suffered a debilitating stroke. He still cares for his ex-girlfriend (Eva Pallares), though he increasingly feels that she has risen to a higher station in life. His sterile, imprisoned brother (Antonio de la Torre) asks him to impregnate a female fellow prisoner (Marta Etura) with whom he has become close, resulting in inevitable romantic complications. And his sexually confused best friend Israel (Raul Arevalo) has just discovered that this father is a client of a male prostitute.

While these floridly melodramatic plot developments might have provided fertile fuel for the giddy excesses of a Pedro Almodovar film, this director's more restrained stylistic approach merely makes them feel contrived and artificial. While the actors mainly are effective and there are moments that resonate with emotional truthfulness, the sheer piling on is wearisome, and the unsatisfying climax is particularly frustrating.