“Brothers in Shifts,” a review of “Jonathan” by Nathan H. Box
Recommendation: 5/5 Stars, SHOWTIME
Director: Bill Oliver, Writers: Gregory Davis, Peter Nickowitz, Starring: Ansel Elgort, Patricia Clarkson, Suki Waterhouse
Plot: “Jonathan leaves the office every day at noon. When he gets home, he goes to sleep. Every morning he wakes up and there is a breakfast prepared for him along with a video telling him about the second part of his day.” -IMDB
Review: For my 13th film of the 2018 Los Angeles Film Festival, I set my sights on a film with a confusing plotline; the kind of thing that raises my level of curiosity. By doing so, I stumbled across a film that made me question every inch of this movie. “Jonathan” also ended up being my favorite film of the festival.
Once in a blue moon, I come across a film that refuses to spoon feed the audience. Instead, it requires us to be active participants. From the comfort of our cushy seats, we are asked to untangle the web of a complex story. As we do, we find ourselves swimming through a river of emotions; ridiculousness, aghast, shocked, and awed are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how this movie made me feel. As I realized I wasn’t witnessing twin brothers, but instead watching brothers in shifts trapped in a single body with two separate streams of consciousness, I was both proud and excited to see where the director and writers were going to take this story next.
From this realization, comes the rules of engagement for a world that cannot possibly understand the complexity of being two distinct people trapped in the same body. At first, “Jonathan” feels like an emotionally withdrawn film, but you then realize this level of detail is needed or the whole thing can fall apart. Of course, we wouldn’t be watching a film such as this if things didn’t fall apart. When they do, this film becomes emotionally challenging and beautiful at the same time revealing its true greatness.
As things get more complicated, you are left floored. Nothing here is out of your grasp, yet every scene is meant to challenge. These risks pay off in dividends making “Jonathan” one of the most wildly inventive movies of the year. Not since “Memento” have I felt this way about a film such as this. For me, this is rare company, but ever so deserving.
Be good to each other,
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