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The title, at once aimless and coyly, almost whimsically seductive, gives a partial sense of this film’s mood. It’s an elegantly made road movie in a style I can only call Euro-arthouse quirk. The director is Ena Sendijarević, making her feature debut with deadpan borrowings from Suleiman and Jarmusch. It is a dry, dark comedy that is clearly riffing on elements from her own background: like her lead character, Sendijarević was raised in the Netherlands, but born in Bosnia, which her parents fled during the 90s war. You are left wondering about the less quirky reality that must lie some way behind the story.
Alma (Sara Luna Zorić) is a teenager who lives in the Netherlands with her mum, but hears that her dad – who ran out on them when she was a kid – is now very sick back in Bosnia. Alma conceives a desire to see him for the first and last time. Her mum fixes her up with a place to stay out there with her moody, slightly gangster-y cousin, Emir (Ernad Prnjavorac), and, on her arrival, Emir’s friend Denis (Lazar Dragojević) is rather enamoured of Alma, who does a lot of sunbathing in a bikini or her underwear and who flavours the movie with a tang of artless sexiness.
Sendijarević displays some arch film-making mannerisms: characters tend to speak only after a tiny contrived pause while impassively holding the gaze of the person with them; they will often be photographed in odd, rectilinear compositions, their heads and faces occupying the lower half of the screen with a lot of dead space overhead. And most of the time there is a hard, sunlit sheen that hints at something menacing or even violent just out of shot.
It’s an amusing and diverting film that, with a series of ellipses and jumps, finally takes us to an unexpected world of fear and grief – and then back again, to stylised unseriousness. An engaging debut, which Sendijarević will follow up with more substance to go with the style.
• Take Me Somewhere Nice is available on Mubi.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Take Me Somewhere Nice review – quirky arthouse road movie | Film