EIFF 2016: Aloys (2016)
Written and directed by Tobias Nölle, Aloys is an interesting film that takes some potentially bleak and depressing material and makes it, for the most part, into something a bit more enjoyable and interestingly tactile.
Georg Friedrich plays Aloys Adorn, a private investigator who doesn’t really connect with anyone in the world around him. He just views them all through his camcorder, even the corpse of his just-deceased father, and spends most of his evenings running back through his collection of recordings. One day, his camcorder and a bag of tapes go missing. The woman who has them (played by Tilde Von Overbeck) decides to use her power over Aloys to force him on a journey with her. Not a physical journey, however, but a telephone journey, one that requires the participants to use their imaginations to realise the sounds and smells and textures around them. And it’s not long until Aloys starts to slightly enjoy the notion.
It’s covering some well-worn material, there’s no doubt about that, but Aloys succeeds thanks to a couple of solid central performances, with Friedrich excelling as he remains onscreen for almost every scene in the film, occasional moments of dry humour, and some editing and audio work that really lifts the material to another level. It’s not quite enough to make this into something truly special, but it’s enough to make it a movie that will stick in your mind for some time. And you’ll most likely end up with a grin playing on your lips while you remember it. Or, at the very least, some unexpected feelings of happiness.
Nölle does a fantastic job as he walks a tightrope between pointless navel-gazing and having something worth saying. What could so easily have turned into the former instead transforms easily, and skillfully, into the latter. In fact, despite the extreme nature of the main characters, I would guess that many viewers will identify with at least one or two moments. It’s often easier nowadays to connect with someone online, or deal with text messages rather than a phone call, and that has left many people not realising the distance that they have put between themselves and everyone else, socially speaking.
You’ve seen many moments from this film done before. This just puts a new spin on things, and that’s enough to make it worth your time.
Aloys is showing at 1810 on 22nd June in Odeon 4, and at 1330 on 26th June in Cineworld.
WRITER/DIRECTOR: TOBIAS NOLLE
STARS: GEORG FRIEDRICH, TILDE VON OVERBECK
RUNTIME: 91 MINS APPROX
COUNTRY: SWITZERLAND, FRANCE