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Review: Darkly comic Croatian drama ‘Goran’ rewards patience

(L-R) - Natasa Janjic and Franjo Dijak in a scene from the movie “Goran.” Credit: Uncork’d Entertain
Natasa Janjic and Franjo Dijak in a scene from the movie “Goran.”
(Uncork’d Entertainment)

When “Goran” begins, there’s little hint of the black comedy that ignites its latter half. We’re unsure who the titular character (Franjo Dijak) is and why we’re spending time with him, his wife (Natasa Janjic) and their circle of friends and family. But once this Croatian film from director Nevio Marasovic takes the final turn to its destination, its dark humor is likely to equally charm and depress those who are still along for the ride.

Snow blankets the remote cabin where Goran gathers with his blind wife, Lina, his in-laws and their friends, where they relax in the sauna and the cozy interior. When Lina announces her pregnancy at dinner, the news unsettles Goran in unexpected ways. Soon, his quiet life becomes one of chaos, with drama spilling out beyond just his marriage into all the relationships around him.

“Goran” rewards patience, with a leisurely opening that threatens to deter those who will enjoy the bleak laughs of its second half. Not every moment is earned, with some of the film’s events feeling like they were simply inserted to ramp up the absurdity. But despite those flaws, for those who like their jokes on the cruel side, “Goran” is a darkly comic treat that is a far better experience for the audience than its characters.

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‘Goran’

In Croatian with English subtitles

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica

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