** (out of four)
Enoch’s (Henry Hopper, promising) obsession with death—which stems from the car accident that killed his parents and almost killed him too—leads him to crash funerals and talk to the ghost of a WWII Japanese kamikaze pilot (Ryo Kase). Annabel (
The buzz: The movie’s quirkiness (wouldn’t it be cool to play the xylophone?) and Annabel’s curious fondness for Enoch’s issues sometimes scream “Garden State,” which isn’t a good thing. Director Gus Van Sant should be able to cut to the core of characters trying to find their place in the world. He usually does.
The verdict: “Restless” should be called “Stuck.” Jason Lew’s script is hampered by its contrivances and unable to examine mortality with any depth or urgency. Everyone reconciles death differently, and “Restless” could have tapped into life as a brief visitation, with visiting hours always about to end. Instead, Van Sant gets lost in no-man’s-land between his daring independent sensibilities and his mainstream compromises, causing the film to take a complicated route to something simple about respect for the dead. Perhaps like those reflecting on an unfulfilling life, I wish “Restless” added up to more.
Did you know? Constant mention is made of birds, particularly one who sings to celebrate the life it didn’t expect to have. Um, really the love subtlety there.
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