Interview: Andrew Jay Cohen talks tuition fees, working for Will Ferrell and inspirations for The House

I had the chance to interview filmmaker Andrew Jay Cohen about his latest film The House starring Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler and Jason Mantzoukas. He spoke about getting inspiration for the film and working the great cast.

Where did you get inspiration for this film?

When I was young I always playing poker and as a freshman in high school, we would gather in our basement to play. We thought we were cool. Originally the film was going to be about the kids at college but after I wrote Neighbours the adult struggles just busted it wide open. Once I started thinking about being a dad it just became so absurd. Putting Will and Amy in the worst financially situation not being able to afford college. It was just great. Once it is about a real person it becomes more relatable to the audience. What do you do when you catch a cheater? Take him to the garage? I just realised I can’t intimidate someone like a gangster can.

There was a lot of improve in the film was that intentional?

I believe that you need a strong script. I do believe in that and a great blue print and game plan. But once I’m on set, if an actor can’t say those prepositions in that way then we find other ways. I find that irresistible and is the spirit of writing. I love going down the rabbit hole with actors. There is a feeling of authenticity. It’s like you are filming two people interacting rather than something created.

Was this your first time working with the cast?

Worked with Will on Anchorman and on the last day of shooting he came up to me and told me there was no film in the camera all filled with coffee. I was like ‘he made fun of me I know I made it’. When I was writing the script I kept having his voice in my head. He is able to deliver lines. We were quoting Anchorman before it even came out. I like those movies where words and phrases and characters will just resonate in your head. It had to feel loose and like anything can happen.

The film does tackle some cultural topics and do you think more films should do this?

Absolutely. I think all movies should come from reality or us it as a jumping off point. It’s very relatable. I set up a 529 for my kid and was comparing what I have with the cost of semester and it just made me anxious. So I put that into the most stupid thing. Here’s a problem its very really, what’s the worst thing you could solve it? There’s probably ways Scott and Kate could have solved it but it just happens to be the only way to solve it. It’s a real starting point. I’ve always been taught that’s the most important and is always my starting point.

It also looks at the dark side of gambling as well.

I really thought it was hysterical if we treated them with some epic vision Scorsese would. It veers in tone and that was so much fun. I’ve been watching Scorsese movies and studying what made them resonant and make that in a comedy.

Could there be a potential sequel?

I would love to do a sequel. As she is going to college who knows what will happen. The head of the studio set up his own casino in is dorm room so who knows.

The House is in UK cinemas on June 30. Plus I will be providing a review for that date as well.

Wonder Woman: Saves the world and saves the franchise

Following the poorly received contributions to the DC External Universe franchise it is always worrying when you sit in the cinema waiting to watch the next instalment hoping it won’t be as bad as the previous and Wonder Woman shines a fresh new light on the movies.

Director: Patty Jenkins

Writer: Geoff Johns

Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, David Thewlis, Danny Huston

Certificate: 12A

Running time: 2hr 21mins

The origin story follows how the sexy lasso-swinging hero became who we know and love today and the film is probably the best movie in the DCEU franchise – but that is not overly difficult.

Wonder Woman opens with modern-day Paris with a voiceover by the titular character herself who is being followed by men working for Bruce Wayne aka Batman.

After receiving a parcel the film then goes back in time to when the superhero, Princess Diana (Gal Gadot), is growing up in the women-only Amazonian land of Themyscira– where we and Diana learn about the battle of the Gods and the evil Aries.

Diana then meets American spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) who crashes his plane into the water. Saving him Diana leaves the island with him to go and battle Nazis or as Diana believes Aries.

One thing the film has that not many other of the DCEU movies have is constant humour between the characters – whether it’s Diana’s naivety about the new world she is discovering or whether it’s the people she meets trying to understand who she is.

It never fails to keep you entertained and I even found myself doubting whether her belief in Aries was, in fact, true or just a story she was told.

There were some parts where I was more leaning towards the film being over fantastical but of course, it’s a superhero movie and relies on fantastical elements.

Gadot’s stunning performance as the titular character was brilliant. After seeing her in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice I admit I was skeptical how she would be in her own stand-alone movie.

But nevertheless, she was fantastic. She manages to perfectly execute the naïve woman Diana is when in the ‘real world’.

Pine also manages to grasp the humour side of the film, especially when trying to come to terms with the powers of Diana.

Wonder Woman is full of adult humour and sexual innuendos which just makes the film watchable. Nothing is too serious or boring.

This movie not only marks the first time Wonder Woman has had her own standalone movie but also marks the first time in both DC and Marvel that a female superhero has the titular role and director Patty Jenkins knew exactly what she was doing.

Although the epic battle sequence towards the end was a little bit farfetched and over the top, you couldn’t help but find the film somewhat refreshing from the previous additions to the DCEU.

For anyone who is a Wonder Woman fan, and I am sure there are many, will definitely enjoy the film and those skeptical about the DCEU will be delightfully surprised.

Whether or not there will be a Wonder Woman sequel (but due to the success of the first one I am probably sure there will be) fans can expect to see Gadot donning the sexy, infamous costume again in Justice League.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge: Typical film where a studio exploits a popular franchise

The fifth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is cinematically brilliant but it’s just too fantastical and rehashes concepts from the first movie.

Director: Joachim Ronning, Espon Sandberg

Writer: Jeff Nathanson

Starring: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem, Brenton Twaites, Kaya Scodelario, Orlando Bloom

Certificate: 12A

Running time: 2hrs 9mins

Release Date: May 26

Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge is a highly anticipated movie after it was revealed Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightly would be reprising their roles as Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan respectively, however, the film is just too much.

The film follows Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and his new shipmate Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) – the son of the hero and heroine from the first three movies – as they try to track down the lost Trident of Poseidon.

However, as their journey takes them across the seas they are followed in pursuit by the dead Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) and his crew who seek to get revenge on Jack.

Cinematically, the film is brilliant and to say the franchise was developed from a ride in the various Disneylands around the world the movies have done well in cinema’s history but this one is probably the worse out of the five.

It seems these days Disney are just rehashing and rebooting successful franchises and narratives such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The fifth franchise has a ship of dead sailors trying to break a curse and a strong, confident female character who continually seems to wear a long dress.

Yes, this description could be used for both Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and the new one.

However, the difference is the first movie was gritty, dark and in a way realistic whereas Salazar’s Revenge went a bit overboard (pardon the pun) on the fantastical.

Some of the dead sailors had half their faces blown off, were just arms floating in mid-air but still wielding swords and dead sharks brought to life to chase down their enemies – all a bit ridiculous.

Many of the scenes were also too long winded, in particular, a robbing the bank scene which seemed to last for nearly half the film and didn’t really have any point to it and could have easily been cut down.

Fans of the franchise, including myself, were overjoyed when the trailer revealed Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightly were set to rejoin the franchise after being omitted from the fourth movie.

However, their parts don’t seem to be any benefit to the plotline and with the introduction of Thwaites as their son, they didn’t really need to be involved in the film but instead just mentioned as fans would know who they were.

Orlando, whose character Will Turner is now the Captain of the Flying Dutchman, is supposed collect those who died at sea and take them to his locker however so many sailors die in this movie and yet his presence is omitted.

Depp was as always fantastic in his role but the franchise has been overdone now and if there will be another addition he needs to hang up his captain hat and retire. The role is overdone and overplayed.

Bardem was perfect as the Spanish murderous villain but there was sometimes parts where he was speaking and it was hard to fully understand him due to his mouth being full of blood.

Thwaites, although a good actor, didn’t shine as bright as he could have done in this franchise and Scodelario just reimagined the character of Elizabeth Swan just a few years younger – she, just like Knightly did, wore a dress the entire movie and had constant digs at the lifestyle of pirates.

Of course, Geoffrey Rush was brilliant as Captain Barbossa and it was great to see him as a pirate again rather than being on the side of the English as he was in the fourth installment.

Number four in the franchise, On Stranger Tides, brought more than just the living dead into the movies with mermaids being featured and it seemed the follow-up movie kept to that fantastic-ness and was more Peter Pan-esque than swashbuckling pirates.

Although there is a lot of criticism against the movie, it was still very enjoyable to watch and parts were great both narratively and cinematically.

However, this has to be the end of the franchise. The film brings everything to a perfect close and it would ruin an already stretched out collection of movies if there was to be a sixth.

Anyone who is a fan of the movies should go see it for nostalgia purposes and prepare for another great performance from the amazing Depp.

But be prepared to find yourself thinking it wasn’t as great as the original.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2: Energetic, cinematically stunning but lacking in narrative

A sequel is always hard to live up to the expectations fans have especially with a heavy fan-base of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 suffers from lack of plot.

Director and writer: James Gunn

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Kurt Russell

Running time: 136mins

Certificate: 12A

Release date: April 28

The next instalment of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise has long been anticipated since the release of the first movie back in 2014 and it did keep the humour and comedic elements but it struggled with a plot.

The film follows the Guardians as they struggle to keep the ‘family’ together as it tires to unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) true parentage in the outer reaches of the galaxy.

And really all the film does is deal with a lot of speaking and lack of worthwhile action. The film is purely a mechanism to develop Quill and to give all the other Guardians somewhat of a back story.

Of course the franchise needs to bring into the matter of his parentage but that’s all it really did.

Pratt and the rest of the cast got back into their respective alien characters and you could clearly see they all enjoyed working alongside each other making the movie.

One of the best parts of the film was the soundtrack, something similar from the first movie, if you like 80s music and cameos from Sylvestor Stallone and David Hasselhoff then definitely go and see it.

Eventually as the film continues you find out a big secret but you have to wait up until the last 45 minutes. The rest of the film is simply talking except for an opening battle scene.

Half way through I began question what actually has happened so far to which my mind was blank.

One of the best developments was the character of Nebula (Karen Gillan) as a sort of archnemesis to the Guardians we see her true bitterness and hatred towards her sister Gamora and father Thanos.

Also the film begs the question whether the new character Mantis will become a pivotal role in the next movies.

With the mentioning of Infinity Stones and Thanos the film was clearly building up to the next Avengers movies which is great but because the studios have released a timeline of the next movies it is a major spoiler.

I didn’t find myself sat on the edge of my seat (cliche intended) because I knew there couldn’t have been any major deaths as they are all set to star in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War and the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3.

The Guardians of the Galaxy are known for the use of humour and comedic effects to move the plot along but the sequel had a lot of these elements and it got somewhat tedious watching Baby Groot dance around and not really do much else.

Although Baby Groot was a fan favourite and exceptionally cute, it seemed he was used to fill in five to ten minutes of nothingness and it was slightly irritating.

Despite slating the film in this review, it was perfectly executed and visually stunning and worthy of a watch just for the cinematic elements.

If you don’t know already the film has five post credit scenes. Five? Yes, five. However there is only really one that is relevant to the franchise progression.

Nevetheless the film was good and I did laugh at some of the humour and I am excited to see how the Guardians fit in with the Avengers next year.

 

 

The Center: Distinctively different to Hollywood movies filled with empowering quotes

Charlie Griak’s The Center will leave you what happens to the character at the end of the film.

Director: Charlie Griak

Writer: Charlie Griak

Starring: Matt Cici, Judd Einan, Amanda Day

Running time: 72mins

Written and directed by Griak, the film follows an aspiring writer Ryan who is looking for a way to change his life.

Coming from what seems to be an unloving home, Ryan puts his own dreams on the side in order to help.

He then becomes entangled in a cult-like organisation that attempts to empower those on the side lines.

Reading the synopsis, there is a clear, linear structure to the film but after watching there is a clear distinction between The Center and other American films.

There was no clear ending to the film but nevertheless it didn’t need it.

It seems that Griak was focused on creating a deep and memorable film filled with empowering quotations including ‘make the best of what you have’.

During the screening, there was a sort of expectation of what could happen. Hollywood has made film viewers around the world expect some dramatic or twisted ending but The Center goes against that.

There is a battle when watching an independent film between Hollywood expectations and the reality of what actually happens and this notion seems to come to the surface in The Center.

There are many scenes where we see Ryan wanting to achieve something but is immediately thrust back into reality and in turn, the viewers are not having the escapism that is automatically given in Hollywood films.

Does it work? I would say so.

The unusual, non-linear narrative is accompanied by eerie and slightly hypnotic music that is constant throughout.

Music is a tool that builds up the tension, gives more narrative to certain characters and audiences gain a sense of genre with the score.

The music in The Center keeps the audience on their toes. The eerie music suggests something dramatic or out of the ordinary will happen as the narrative progresses.

Having the score being played constantly and varying from loud, dramatic music through to the more slow and eerie pieces all added to the fact that there was nothing that gave away the narrative.

Independent films are not for everyone and it is hard for them to keep the attention of their audiences.

The Center does however makes you think about your own life and about things that you should have changed or could change at that moment and it does bring into account the notion of ‘what if….?’

Despite having limited character development, there was still an identifiable aspect to Ryan. On a personal level, I found that I was able to relate to his writing ambitions and other characteristics.

It is rare that I feel I can connect and identify with Hollywood characters because they have been manipulated to suit that film.

Flowing nicely onto the next point, the main theme throughout the film was manipulation. Ryan was manipulated into not pursuing his writing dream by his family and in turn became manipulated by the cult-like organisation.

Cults have been around to centuries and The Center shows how people can be drawn into something and forced to behave in certain ways.

The Center is short but you will feel you have been bombarded with deep and meaningful quotations for a whole hour and a half.

Beauty and the Beast: Visual masterpiece but nothing compared to the animation

The hype around the remake of Disney’s classic Beauty and the Beast made the film highly anticipated but it lacks the magic of the animation.

Director: Bill Condon

Writer: Stephen Chbosky

Starring: Emma Watson, Luke Evans, Dan Stevens, Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson

Running time: 2hrs 9 mins

Certificate: PG

To say the new Beauty and the Beast is not a good film would definitely be a lie but there is something about the film that I simply could not enjoy.

The remake of the film follows adventurous Belle who stumbles upon an enchanted castle where furniture moves and talks and the prince has been turned into a hideous beast.

Following the same plot as the original animation the film did fill in some of the missing narrative plots and even shows the enchantress casting the spell on the castle.

As the film starts, the creators used the same music theme which hailed back to the original which was something that made me excited for the film to begin.

But as it progressed I felt more and more bored with the plot and the characters. With an added 20minutes or so to the film you beg the question did this or that scene really need to be included?

Having grown up watching the animated version I was already sceptical about a remake as most other fans would be as well.

When I original found out they had cast Emma Watson to play Belle I immediately was put off by her – then found out she was singing in it. Another thing to add to the list.

I don’t have anything against Watson at all and believe she is a talented actress but she is probably the epitome of ‘British’ yet she is cast to play a French woman.

Same with the rest of the cast as well. We no longer live in a time where foreign actors are few so it begs the question as to why Disney used Hollywood-famous actors in their respective roles.

Was it simply to draw in the numbers to make a box office hit? Probably. As well casting a Scottish actor to play the French candlestick Lumiere was also a bit of a joke.

Ewan McGregor, who plays Lumiere, is another talented actor but throughout the film he slipped in and out of accents. The original cartoon version used a French actor so why couldn’t this one?

The only relatively suited actors were Sir Ian McKellen (Cogsworth) and Emma Thompson (Mrs Potts).

Both these characters are supposed to be well-spoken British servants and I couldn’t think of two better people to play these roles.

The animation/CGI itself was not that great either. By being a remake that uses the same narrative, same songs and same characters could have used the same design of the characters. No?

This could be because the conglomerate Disney was to sell brand new merchandise with these new character looks. A good idea but bad for film fans like myself.

Speaking of CGI and going to back to the ‘hideous beast’, I couldn’t help but see the beast was not as hideous as he is supposed to be. In fact he is well groomed and relatively handsome in some weird way.

I must admit the three new songs added to the soundtrack are particularly good and memorable which is a good thing.

The narrative also added some new interesting plot devices such as the castle continues to fall and break when the rose petals fall. This is a feature I enjoyed.

The film itself is pretty good and you will find yourself enjoying it despite some worries I had from the offset but I was generally quite disappointed.

Also the title track of the same name is used but I was expected the Angela Lansbury original to be played while the credits role. Maybe I was expecting too much of the film.

Nonetheless it isn’t as bad as I have made out – plus the ‘gay moment’ barely exists and I couldn’t even tell you where it is – and I am sure it will be up for a couple of Oscar nominations.

Gods of Egypt: A CGI mess, awful one liners but something to watch

Gods of Egypt is an unusual film with terrible one liners and a bundle of CGI but nonetheless it is a good film to watch on a rainy day.

Director: Alex Proyas

Writers: Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless

Starring: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Gerard Butler, Brenton Thwaites

Released: 2016

Running time: 2 hours 7 minutes

Being impartial to a good film about Egypt I found myself choosing to spend two hours of my life watching Gods of Egypt.

Mortal hero Bek teams with the god Horus in an alliance against Set, the merciless god of darkness, who has usurped Egypt’s throne, plunging the once peaceful and prosperous empire into chaos and conflict.

Although the narrative and plot does entice you to want to watch, especially if you have a strong love for Egypt which I do, the film is not the best.

Starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, from Game of Thrones fame, as Horus and Gerard Butler as Set you would think the film would be hard not to enjoy.

But it simply is not the case. The writers seem to have gone down a more comedic route focusing of awful one liners that would only make your dad enjoy.

The film also has far too much CGI for someone to enjoy. If I wanted to watch a cartoon I would have chosen to watch one. The Prince of Egypt is better quality.

It seems the film is trying to be similar to the popular 300 or Immortals but it just fails on all accounts.

The fight sequences are good I give it that but the storyline is predictable and the narrative jumps ahead in time and leaves you asking where certain characters are gone.

A story about ancient Egyptian Gods has yet to be until this film came along and it did not give it any justice.

I would rather have seen a film just about the Gods rather than the annoying and bluntly useless character that is the mortal Bek (Brenton Thwaites).

His purpose in the film is not entirely needed although some would argue it is because of him the narrative moves along.

The introduction of mortals fighting alongside Gods is something that does not work for me.

The movie takes on a certain ‘buddy film’ as the two journey across Egypt in an attempt to stop Set. This is all well and good but it just did not fit right with me.

Overall the film is not as bad as this review may sound and it is an easy watch and something to put on in the background when doing other things.

I am hoping for the day when the Egyptian Gods will be blasted onto the big screen and given as much glory as they deserve.

Egypt as a location setting for modern films has not really been a successful one. Take for instance the Brendon Fraser’s The Mummy franchise (although I thoroughly love these) and Exodus: Gods and Kings.

They just do not seem to work but it is high time someone gave ancient Egypt the limelight. The Romans and Vikings have been done but we cannot neglect the culture that invented paper.

American cult thriller available for UK audiences on Amazon

An American cult thriller has become available for UK audiences on Amazon Prime.

Written, produced and directed by Jack Thomas Smith, Disorder opened in cinemas back in 2006 and was later released on DVD.

Disorder stars Darren Kendrick (Thor, Criminal Minds) as David Randall, a paranoid schizophrenic, who was sent away for a brutal double murder with his claims of innocence and description of a masked killer completely ignored.

As David comes home, the deadly masked figure from his past returns.

Does the killer really exist, and is David being set up once again? Or has David stopped taking his medication and is now in a dangerous delusional state?

Jack said: “Disorder is a psychological thriller told from the perspective of the main character, who is a paranoid schizophrenic.

“You are not sure what is real and what is not. And right when you think you have it figured out, there is a twist ending.”

Disorder is available now in the UK on Amazon Prime.

In 2007, Disorder screened at the Cannes Film Festival and the Raindance Film Festival in London.

Curb Entertainment represented Disorder for international theatrical and DVD sales and secured distribution deals around the world.

The filmmaker’s controversial new film Infliction is available now on DVD, VOD, and Digital HD in the US and Canada through Virgil Films & Entertainment.

READ MORE: Q&A with director, writer and producer Jack Thomas Smith

Infliction is a dark and disturbing assembled footage film that documents two brothers’ 2011 murder spree in North Carolina and the horrific truth behind their actions.

Tiger Raid: Suspenseful and unpredictable

Tiger Raid is a dark, suspenseful and unpredictable film which will keep you hooked from start to finish.

The film follows two Irish mercenaries as they travel across the deserts of Iraq to complete a mission.

As the raid progresses, their frenzied world turns in on itself as past misdeeds come to the surface, and violently threatening to tear them apart.

The film opens with a montage of images but only a figure of man and a woman can be made out and heavy breathing is echoed over the images.

This same montage I used throughout the film and one could suggest it is a recurring motif for the character Joe, played by Brian Gleeson.

After the credit sequence there is a wide shot of the desert with a car in the distance moving towards the camera with music over the top establishing the location of the film.

The two Irish mercenaries are introduced, Joe (Gleeson) and Paddy (Damien Moloney) and immediately it becomes quickly apparent these two have conflicting opinions on multiple issues including the north and south divide of Ireland.

After killing some Iraqi soldiers, the opening scene returns as the camera focuses on Joe’s face hinting at his psychological state.

Joe is continuously portrayed as being quite fragile minded and it becomes apparent something happened in his past and he is holding some guilt in.

It is hard to watch the film to try not to connect with both Joe and Paddy but as the film progresses it becomes more difficult to want to.

Through his character development we learn Joe has a wife and children and he is only a mercenary as he owes something to an unknown character called Dave.

The same happens with Paddy. Learning early on he has a mission to assassinate Joe but towards the end of the film you learn there is more to his character.

As previously mentioned, the name Dave is frequently referred to but this man is never seen or introduced physically.

It is said Dave is the leader of the mercenary group and Joe and Paddy are working for him. The majority of the film only has these two characters as they journey across the desert.

With the lack of a variety of characters, the film relies heavily on the conversation between these two and their character developments are essential in pushing the film forward.

One other character is introduced towards the end of the film. A woman called Shadha (Sofia Boutella).

The introduction of Shadha takes the film to a whole new level in an unforeseeable change in direction.

She is a vital character and the two mercenaries are shown to be hiding deeper secrets. Both of their secrets are revealed at the climax of the film.

Although the film is ultimately a dark thriller director and writer Simon Davies adds a slight bit of humour into the script which will occasionally make you smile in places you would not expect to smile.

If I Close My Eyes I’m Not Here: A powerful, melancholy film

If I Close My Eyes I’m Not Here is a melancholy film that looks at the concept of losing someone and trying to continue with everyday life.

The film follows the young teenager Kiko (Mark Manaloto) who lives with his mother (Hazel Morillo) and her new partner Ennio (Beppe Fiorello) who forces him to work at his construction site.

The only place where Kiko feels safe is at an abandoned bus in a dump yard which he has built as a shrine to his deceased father.

One day, Kiko’s life changes when an elderly man and friend of his father, Ettoro (Giorgio Colangeli) becomes a mentor to him. However, he soon reveals his true identity.

If I Close My Eyes I’m Not Here begins with a voice over narration with shots of a boat that become more prominent as the camera gradually moves closer towards it.

It is then revealed that the voice over is in fact a man speaking to a young, Filipino boy about space and a piece of meteorite

The camera then reveals a shot of the stars in the sky and numerous constellations and a new voice over narrator begins speaking about space.

The independent production focuses on the realism in Italy and anyone with any knowledge of the Italian film industry will know that it is renowned for realistic portrayals of the Italian working class community from the very early stages of cinema.

The film is full of many scenic shots showing the landscape of the town Kiko lives in and the shots used reinforce the melancholy and isolation themes throughout the entire film with bleak and dreary buildings and empty spaces.

One particularly memorable shot features a blurred background with Kiko’s classmates and a ping-pong net in the foreground and a ping-pong ball flying over the net. The beautiful use of background and foreground comparisons will stay in your mind long after the film is over.

As well as the realism aspects, the film takes on a deep, thought-provoking concept with many different ideas being surfaced about the universe and will make you pause and think about what has been said and the potential truth behind it and if that is not a good writing technique then I don’t know what is.

By focusing on the aspect of realism, the film becomes a melancholy look at the life of someone who is struggling to come to terms with the death of his father and trying to support his family as well as keeping up with school work.

Kiko is forced to work at a construction site which takes over his life making him fail at school despite the potential to excel and it becomes clear that through the shots of Kiko and the other construction workers that he is observant, quiet and intelligent.

After meeting Ettoro and the two bonding over the relationship they each had with his father, Kiko seems to come out of his shell and we learn more about how he is feeling and his outlook on life and in particular the universe.

Throughout the film, the character of Ettoro becomes a father-figure and seems to be around when Kiko is feeling lost, alone or in trouble.

Upon first viewing, there were shots that initially brought to mind the idea of a guardian angel as he just happens to appear when Kiko is in trouble.

Ettoro helps build Kiko’s confidence and helps him study and as the narrative progresses, Ettoro continually reveals parts of his life that cause the audience to expect a certain final, climatic revelation to occur and makes you question who he is and his relationship with Kiko’s father.

Mark Manaloto’s portrayal of the alone and melancholy Kiko is particularly moving. For the majority of the film he rarely speaks and Manaloto shows his characters emotions solely through facial expressions and reactions.

Giorgio Colangeli’s performance of Ettoro gives an insightful look into someone who is attempting to make peace with the death of Kiko’s father.

Colangeli’s acting will make you sympathise and feel sorry for Ettoro but at the same time, you’ll be wondering just what he is trying to get out of Kiko. A trusting old man with a dark secret.

Another technique that director Vittorio Moroni frequently uses is monologue-esque voice overs and a montage of images.

The technique is used throughout the entirety of the film that it becomes a somewhat motive and this is reinforced through the use of the same tune to go alongside it.

Not all the images relate to the words being spoken in the monologue but nevertheless they start to become expected and it is an interesting touch to add to the film and it can be seen to be a potential homage to the Soviet montage theory of Eisenstein.

Like many independent productions, the ending is not a climatic, all guns blazing, tying up loose ends but merely it just goes to black after a final shot of Kiko.

This is very common amongst independent films and it could possibly have been done in order to keep up the idea of making you think. It is left up to the audience to decide what happens to the characters.

If I Close My Eyes I’m Not Here is a film that captures the true meaning of loss and the attempt to get through the day-to-day struggles.