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A young American tackles some particularly thorny relationship issues in this genre-bending film

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Spring Film

The aimless young American who goes to Europe and discovers love, the meaning of life or a fresh start (or all three) is a longtime popular trope in both dramas and romances. But rarely in metaphysical horror works — until now. In Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead's genre hybrid, Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) travels to Italy after his mother dies. Along with some boozy English bros, he winds up in a seaside Italian town, where he strikes up an acquaintance with the forthright Louise (Nadia Hilker). He decides to stay, even getting a job at a nearby farm (notable, since cycles of life matter to the story). The romance proceeds with the awkwardness, small talk and occasional misunderstandings of, say, Linklater's Before Sunset. Except something very weird is also going on — eviscerated bodies in alleys, hastily injected potions.

It's tricky to discuss without ruining the film's surprises, but this shape-shifting romantic piffle winds up as a much deeper meditation on the nature of commitment, the natural cycles of life and love, and just what sacrifices relationships can demand. Here, love and death exist together on a knife's edge, this dichotomy echoed in the picturesque coastal village where beauty and danger co-exist: Those dramatic cliffs are perfect for watching a sunset ... or falling off of.

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