Unmade Beds (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner09/12/2009

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 93 mins

Unmade Beds is beautifully shot, inventively directed and sporadically moving but the characters are frequently annoying and the film's a little too pretentious for its own good.

What's it all about?
Directed by Alexis Dos Santos, Unmade Beds stars Fernando Tielve and Deborah Francois as Axl and Vera, two lonely ex-pats (Spanish and Belgian, respectively) who are unwittingly sharing the same warehouse-sized squat in a bohemian artistic community in London's fashionable Hackney. Twenty-year-old Axl has come to London to find his long-lost father, whilst Vera is escaping a failed relationship back home.

Axl finds his estate agent father (Richard Lintern) relatively easily but can't work up the courage to tell him who he is; at the same time, he grows increasingly fond of Mike and Hannah (Iddo Goldberg and Katia Winter), the free-spirited couple who have taken him under their wing. Meanwhile, Vera strikes up the beginnings of a romance with X-Ray Man (Michiel Huisman) but their oh-so-charming decision to not tell each other their names or numbers backfires considerably when it comes to seeing each other again.

The Good
The film is extremely well directed, with inventive use of flashbacks and still photographs, together with journal-style narration in both Spanish and French. It's also beautifully shot and manages to evoke a strong sense of the East London artistic community without actually using any establishing location shots (the unfortunate consequence of this is that the ethically diverse aspects of the area are airbrushed out).

Tielve and Francois deliver warm-hearted, achingly vulnerable performances and there's strong support from Goldberg. In addition, there's a great soundtrack and Dos Santos orchestrates several emotionally engaging scenes, notably a rejection scene, a surprisingly believable drunken threesome scene and a surreal heart-to-heart in which one of the characters is wearing a bear's head.

The Bad
The problem is that the dreamy, head-in-the-clouds patheticness of the two main characters wears thin pretty fast; Axl increasingly resembles a sort of Spanish Alan Davies and it's hard to feel sorry for Vera when it's their own let's-not-tell-each-other-our-names preciousness that's made her unhappy in the first place.

Worth seeing?
Unmade Beds is a well made, frequently charming indie drama but it's not as emotionally satisfying as it should be because the characters are a little too pretentious and irritating.

Film Trailer

Unmade Beds (15)
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Content updated: 19/08/2018 06:37

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