Restless (Blu-ray) (starring Mia Wasikowska)
In what could have been a sweet quirky film about romance in unlikely and unfortunate circumstances, Gus Van Sant’s RESTLESS fails to deliver anything great. Unexplored and random story lines within a picture with heavy themes, assorted complexities were unnecessary. RESTLESS will make you just that. The storyline lacks momentum and with the slow pacing coupled with some poor acting; I am willing to bet you are more than agitated once the picture is over.
When terminally-ill Annabelle meets funeral crasher and loner, Enoch, the two find common ground in their experiences with death. While Annabelle (Mia Wasikowska) prepares her own memorial service and acts on how her final moments should play out, Enoch (Harry Hopper) faces the reality of having lost his parents in a fatal car crash. Oh, and there is a World War I Kamikaze fighter pilot ghost (Hiroshi Takahashi) that is Enoch’s friend and guide. Yes. You read that sentence correctly. Annabelle and Enoch’s nontraditional dates range from visiting the morgue, attending funerals or youth soccer games to hospital visits and time in the cemetery highlighting the awkward duo as kindred spirits.
The items that lose me as a viewer are the things like the Japanese ghost who does not add much depth to Enoch’s character or the storyline. The filmmakers should have either developed that scenario more, or pulled it completely from the picture. As it stands, it is a distraction. A one sentence explanation from the action scene of Annabelle and Enoch being chased from a haunted house by teenage jocks makes no sense and brushes off some unanswered questions about Enoch. That entire moment was unnecessary and added to my irritation and agitated state while watching this film. Enoch’s strained relationship with his aunt got lost between his angst for his final time with Annabelle. So many moments where the filmmakers got it wrong.
The filmmakers did an excellent job with the wardrobe and costuming that helped create the whimsical lead characters. Before hearing a word from Enoch, we see him buttoned up and brooding in suits similar to that of an old school mortician, immediately the viewer knows that he’s the oddball outcast. However, the casting of this picture was flawed. Harry Hopper as Enoch was a terrible decision. Enoch, as a character, had a lot of potential to be deep and to grow throughout the picture. Instead, Hopper gives us a flat, dull performance. With the exception of the extreme overacting when he yells at Annabelle’s oncologist and is taken away by security. Takahashi’s fighter pilot also felt detached throughout the picture, you never saw a true bond between the ghost and Enoch. I split the blame for this between the actor and the direction given to him. However, the casting crew got it right with Mia Wasikowska. What an amazing actress! She gives the terminally-ill character life, humanity and tenderness. Playing off one note Hopper, Wasikowska delivers.
What I found to be troubling aside from the poor script, character development and acting by Hopper was the fact that both Ron and Bryce Dallas Howard produced this film and gave a seal of approval to this picture. Did they wear blindfolds when watching? I expect more from those two and this was a letdown. To sum it up, skip this flick. It is a boring waste of time.
Video: (1.85:1) Sharp picture and bold colors.
Audio: (5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio) Nice audio for the dialogue driven film.
Gus Van Sant’s Silent Version of RESTLESS: After he had filmed the scripted scene, Gus Van Sant directed his actors to do a completely silent take of the same scene. He did this for every scene of the film. The following film has been edited together using only the silent version of each scene.
Enoch & Annabel: One Love (6:20): The cast and filmmakers discuss the movie and praise the actors in this typical making of feature.
Enoch & Hiroshi: The Best of Friends (4:06): As the title suggests, this feature gives us a look into the friendship between Hiroshi and Enoch and a little bit more background to Hiroshi’s character.
Gus Van Sant: Independent Voice (6:04): The cast, crew & producers gush over the awesomeness of Van Sant.
Being RESTLESS (9:50): The cast, crew & producers review the costuming, ideas and storyline when creating this film.
Coming to Life: This is RESTLESS (6:04): Did you know that Bryce Dallas Howard and her dad, Ron Howard, produced this film? And that the script was created by Bryce’s best friend? Bryce and writer Jason Lew review the film and the importance of making this story.
Deleted Scenes (8:39): Three deleted scenes that were rightfully removed from the picture.