Suntan

****

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Suntan
"Mid-life crisis has rarely felt so queasy as it does in Argyris Papadimitropoulos' character study, which features humour so dark you can feel it closing in around you."

Mid-life crisis has rarely felt so queasy as it does in Argyris Papadimitropoulos' character study, which features humour so dark you can feel it closing in around you. The director (writing with Syllas Tzoumerkas) wastes no time in suggesting the isolation of his central character Kostis (Makis Papadimitriou), a doctor and the only passenger on a ferry bound for a tiny Greek Island with a population of just 800. He arrives under the leaden skies of winter to be told that the quiet of the island "will clear your mind", the jollity of Christmas lights flickering around the place only emphasising Kostis' loneliness.

Papadimitropoulos doesn't hurry his set up, allowing the drudge of Kostis' day to day to sink into our bones, and to take note of his general introversion that indicates he'd rather spend his time with the TV news than take the locals up on offers for entertainment. Summer arrives with a blast of chaos, bringing with it an explosion in the population, as tourists flock to the island's beaches. Among them is Anna (Elli Tringou), young, nubile and uninhibited - the polar opposite of the downbeat doctor.

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Kostis, seemingly unaware of the selfishness of youth, is immediately hooked, and begins trying to insinuate his way into Anna's group of friends. Papadimitropoulos perfectly captures the 'pack hunt' nature that can occur in groups of youngsters on holiday. Untroubled by much in the way of life experience, they treat every moment as a new hedonistic adventure, with no time to consider any sort of consequences. He also emphasises the ludicrousness of Kostis' attempts to fit in, not least in the unflinching way he shows his paunchy, pallid frame against the tanned and taut skin of the twentysomethings, his decision to be almost fully clothed on the beach only adding to his absurdity.

As the film progresses, Kostis becomes increasingly trapped by his own failings, he might as well be a goldfish swimming with sharks, he is so out of his depth. Papadimitropoulos is also fishing for us, luring us to sympathy for Kostis before ramping up his crisis of masculinity to highly disturbing proportions that reminds you, if you stay in the sun too long, you're highly likely to get burned.

Reviewed on: 28 Apr 2017
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A doctor becomes obsessed with a much younger tourist.
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