Dead Europe (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner14/12/2012

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 84 mins

Dark, disturbing Euro thriller with atmospheric direction, an intriguing script and a compelling central performance from Ewen Leslie.

What's it all about?
Directed by Tony Krawitz, Dead Europe is based on the novel by Christos Tsiolkas and stars Ewen Leslie as openly gay Melbourne photographer Isaac, who decides to travel to his ancestral homeland in Greece in order to scatter his father's ashes, despite dire warnings of a family curse from his mother. Sure enough, as soon as he arrives in Athens, he clashes with estranged relatives and discovers that his family name is indeed cursed, only nobody will tell him why.

Things get weirder when Isaac rescues a troubled teenager (Kodi Smit-McPhee as Joseph), only for the boy to completely disappear, with his neighbours insisting that he left long ago. Searching for answers, Isaac travels to Paris and then to Budapest to track down his brother Nico (Marton Csokas), but he finds himself continually haunted by visions of Joseph.

The Good
Ewen Leslie is excellent as Isaac, delivering a compelling, charismatic performance and sparking intriguing chemistry with his various co-stars (there's a threesome scene that puts the similar sequence in Oliver Stone's Savages to shame). Physically, Leslie resembles a genetic mash-up between Javier Bardem and Diego Luna; no doubt this won't be the last we see of him.

Krawitz maintains an unsettling atmosphere throughout, cleverly weaving in various horror movie tropes as the film progresses (disappearing characters, villages full of sinister townsfolk, sudden violence) and building to a genuinely disturbing climax. The film also takes a fairly dim view of Europe in general, as Isaac uncovers a hidden undercurrent of racism, hatred and suspicion, mixed with a heady cocktail of corruption, collusion and cover-up; no doubt Dead Europe will soon achieve cult status in UKIP circles.

The Bad
The only real problem with the film is that it prefers to remain enigmatic rather than fully explore some of the issues it raises, so the ending is a little frustrating as a result. Similarly, the latter half of the film feels deliberately distancing and unfocussed compared to the tightness and effectiveness of the first half.

Worth seeing?
Dead Europe is an intriguingly dark, genuinely disturbing, horror-tinged Euro thriller with a terrific central performance from Ewen Leslie.

Film Trailer

Dead Europe (18)
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Content updated: 20/09/2018 05:58

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