'Nevrland' (ooh, cool urban spelling!) is very much a film of two halves. In the first part we follow the life of Jakob (Simon Frühwirth), a Vienna youth who lives with his father and grandfather (his mother having left when he was a small child). Jakob's life is changing: he has just started his new job in an abattoir and seems to be developing a mental illness. Excitement is offered by the attractively-muscled form of Kristjan (Paul Forman) a man in his mid-twenties with whom Jakob communicates in on-line chat rooms. Their face-to-face meeting forms the second distinct part of the film, as other characters are jettisoned in favour of what becomes largely a two-hander between Früwirth and Forman, albeit with clubbing scenes and a tripping sequence thrown in.
Writer and director (his first time directing, according to the introduction at the British Film Institute's 2019 'Flare' festival for LGBTQ+ films) Gregor Schmidinger must have thought he was being terribly brave, innovative and challenging with some of the scenes in this: pig carcasses filmed in gory detail, a cow bleeding to death, strange goings-on in nightclubs. Personally I have a feeling he was trying a bit too hard to be the enfant terrible; the tripping sequence, in particular, seems to last forever as weird image after weird image is paraded before the viewer. Oh, and perhaps it is just me getting old, but the bright flashing lights in the club scenes hurt my eyes!
Now for a word about nudity. Some readers will roll their eyes at this, but hey - some of us like a little skin with our flicks! It is here that Schmidinger's bravery seems to desert him. A scene with men showering together has all the participants uniformly facing away from the camera, but in real life, people in group showers face in all sorts of directions. (Admittedly, in this case, the out-of-shape bodies involved are ones you would prefer remained covered up...) In Jakob's dream sequences, in which he is running through the woods or swimming in lakes, he is dressed in his underpants, as if Schmidinger wants to show his vulnerability by stripping him but bottles out when it comes to going all the way. The gay pornography websites Jakob visits are of a particularly strange sort, the likes of which I have never before encountered: they don't show any penises at all, let alone erections! And the sex scene between Jakob and Kristjan is so chaste it would not be out of place on American network television. In a film less determined to shock the viewer with other aspects of its imagery this comparatively prudish attitude to nudity would not have been so noticeable; but in this film, it definitely is.
Ultimately I do not regret watching 'Nevrland': the look at Jakob's life prior to the meeting with Kristjan makes for a good human-interest drama. But there is too little of that, and too much "let's shock the viewer" weirdness, for me to want to watch the film again.
Drama / Horror / Mystery
Drama / Horror / Mystery
17-year-old Jakob wants nothing more than to feel alive. Uncontrollable anxiety attacks prevent him from doing so and force him to escape into virtual worlds. One night, he meets 26-year-old Kristjan in a cam chat. Their encounter marks the beginning of a transpersonal journey to the wounds of their souls.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
June 18, 2020 at 11:25 AM