July 20, 2012

Filthy Review - Here

Here (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

Ben Foster is probably best known for movies such as 3.10 from Yuma, Pandorum and The Mechanic, movies which are all a million miles away from Here. Whereas those movies are very much products of the big studios, Here is a far more delicate and, dare I say, interesting movie. If anything Here plays out a bit like a travel guide to Armenia, in which it was shot.

Here was actually the first America movie to be filmed in Armenia, and follows the journey of Will Shepard (Ben Foster) and Gadarine Nazarian (Lubna Azabal). Will is an American cartographer who is travelling Armenia for work purposes, making up new maps, and Gadarine is an ex-pat photographer who has returned from after travels to Canada and Europe.

The pair meet one day at breakfast, at the lodgings where they are both staying, and strike up a friendship between each other. This results in the pair joining up and travelling the length and breadth of Gadarine’s home nation, on which their relationship grows into something stronger than friendship.

Here is most definitely not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. The structure of the film, although linear, is such that the film just meanders along with no absolute destination, instead focusing on the beautiful scenery (this is a gorgeous film to look at), the people they meet and exploring both their outlooks on life. There is more going on here than immediately hits the eye, and at times the movie does slow down to an almost snail-like pace. That’s just the kind of film it is though, and director Braden King seems happy to just left the film develop quite organically.

Aside from Ben Foster and Lubna Azabal, the other notable name starring in Here is Peter Coyote who provides the films narration, but the film’s star is Armenia, with the actors really giving supporting roles to the incredible scenery; the cinematography is just wonderful.

As a film I thoroughly enjoyed it; it was a complete change of pace visually and just goes to show that there are some truly interesting and unique films out the being made. If I did have any problems with Here, it would be a fault that I have found in many American films that involve travel; there’s always a scene where the traveler ends up drinking and singing with a local. Trite, maybe but still a device I feel is overused.

Here is certainly a film for those that like to push the boundaries of what they watch, and for those that like to see films made outside of the usual geographical locations. Another score for Strand Releasing, who continue to release some of the more interesting films out there.

Here is available on DVD from Strand Releasing.

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