:. Director: Gus Van Sant
:. Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Henry Hopper
:. Running Time: 1:31
:. Year: 2011
:. Country: USA
As you might have noticed, Gus Van Sant has abandoned the intellectual experiments of the Elephant and Last Days-era to turn to a more sober, conventional and less sophisticated cinema, continuing that trend with Restless, the story of a young couple confronted to their fate. Following a long coma, Enoch has been living with his aunt since his parents died in a car accident. Since he was unable to attend their funeral, he haunts those of others. It's at one of them that he meets Annabel, who's terminally ill with cancer.
Restless tells the encounter of two people facing death, each of them reacting with opposing forces to this matter. Just like the Yin and the Yang, positive and negative forces complementing perfectly each other, the couple releases an energy that celebrates life, perhaps a little too naively, but certainly with a communicative freshness. While Enoch lives in a lonely and morbid imaginary world (his only friend is none other than the ghost of a world war 2 suicide bomber), Annabel faces her fate with the serenity of a child who intends to take advantage of every moment he/she has left. Together, these two energy forces invoke the imagination to better face the inevitable. It's a great lesson about the love of life that they provide, with the help of Hiroshi, the ghostly Japanese friend.
Supported by Henry Hopper's irradiating the talent (he's the son of Dennis) and Mia Wasikowska - their beauty and thirst for life are intoxicating - the film defies bravely destiny. Even its title challenges the epitaph commonly used American on tombstones (rest in peace). Creating an ode to love, Gus Van Sant offers a warm look to better illuminate the complicity between the couple. From small impromptu dialogues to inspired games, Enoch and Annabel have fun, taking advantage of every moment they spend together. The pathos has no place here, since the film confronts the issue of death with such force that it reduces it to an end too futile compared to the love and happiness that can fill a life.
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