Spring (2015)

12 Nov

Life is not good for Evan. He is wanted by the law, unemployed, and on the run from a pair of criminals who want a violent payback from a bar fight. His mother, the only family he had, has recently passed from cancer, and his best (and only) friend is in a useless state of constant intoxication.

Left with little options, Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) decides to run from his problems by taking a one-way flight to Italy, giving him a chance to catch a much-needed break and think about the oncoming phase of his life. It’s while working on a farm in Italy that Evan soon falls for a mysterious unnamed local girl (Nadia Hilker) and the two form an intimate and off kilter relationship.

This is the set up for Spring, an unconventional but thoroughly engaging European love story. Filmmakers Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead (who collaborated before on the 2012 thriller Resolution and a segment for V/H/S Viral) share directorial duties on the film with Benson writing the provocative screenplay.

It’s instantly obvious that Pucci and Hilker share an impressionable chemistry, and the rich but naturalistic dialogue between the two characters gives life to the film. These characters feel real and fleshed out, unlike many of the two-dimensional leads that populate the genre. Benson’s script boldly explores many different areas of Evan’s story, jumping between idealistic romance, nostalgia, philosophy, suspense, and at times, Cronenberg-esc body horror.  This kind of awkward genre-blending usually results in something cringe-worthy (see Pucci’s 2005 suburban drama/Donnie Darko-ripoff The Chumscrubber), but fortunately, Moorehead and Benson’s film works so well as a whole it’s futile to focus on its many disjointed parts.

Some impressive visual effects work and beautiful cinematography by Moorehead gives Spring a haunting visceral impression and the synth-laden score by The Album Leaf is near-perfect. Though many will inevitably be put of by the more pretentious aspects of its philosophical and biological twists, it’s hard not to be immersed in the story Moorehead and Benson have created.

Bottom Line: Led by a pair of outstanding performances, an impressive script, and an aesthetically vibrant atmosphere, Spring is this year’s must-see romance story.

Rating: 8/10 

Film Recipe: Before Sunrise + Charlie Countryman + I Origins  

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