Film Pulse Score

Release Date: September 16, 2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Gus Van Sant
FilmPulse Score: 3.5/10

Restless is a formulaic drama about a depressed boy and the girl he falls in love with who has terminal brain cancer.  He meets her while crashing a funeral, which is his favorite hobby, and his best friend is the ghost of a Japanese Kamikaze pilot.  If the last two sentences weren’t enough for you to stay away from this one let’s continue.

The film is shot in typical indie hipster fashion. The characters dress like they’re straight out of the 40s and they like to do quirky things and seem to be wise beyond their years.  I can see what Van Sant was trying to accomplish with this film but it didn’t work.  There’s so many movies out there like this, it just didn’t feel genuine.  There were moments in the film where I knew I should be feeling sad or uplifted but I wasn’t buying any of it.

Enoch, the main character, sounded like a slightly more intellectual version of Napoleon Dynamite, and I didn’t care about him at all. Annabel, his love interest, was more likable and actress Mia Wasikowska did a decent job, but her passable performance was muddled by everything else in the film.

I know Gus Van Sant has made some pretty great movies in the past, but he seems to keep lurching his way back to these adolescent dramas (eg. Elephant, Paranoid Park) and he needs to stop making them.  Go see 500 Days of Summer or Wristcutters instead.

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