Eye For Film >> Movies >> 1 Or 2 Things I Don't Know About Him (2008) Film Review
1 Or 2 Things I Don't Know About Him
Reviewed by: Anton Bitel
With its austere formalism, its title designed to evoke (and invert) Jean-Luc Godard's 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967), and its eschewal of the short film's standard setup-punchline structure, 1 Or 2 Things I Don't Know About Him is not exactly reaching out to the mainstream. On the contrary, it examines the sting of rejection, the solitude of loss and the difficulty of moving on, all familiar to anyone who has ever broken up, with a joylessness that perhaps mirrors the experience itself.
The film is set out as a bitter argument between Guido (Pedro Reichert) and his ex Sebastian (James Nield) as they both look out (but never at one another) from either side of a park bench on Hampstead Heath. The gulf between them is conjured by the crisp artificiality of their dialogue, as well as by the viewer's awareness from the outset that Sebastian is there only in Guido's distraught imagination, all at once as consoler, whipping boy and voice of reason. For this is the sort of one-sided conversation that all jilted lovers mutter to themselves in the absence of partners to listen.
As though to underline this self-imposed dualism, in the film's opening a slow pan over the park and city below (silent apart from natural ambient sounds) is jarringly intercut with the titles (to the accompaniment of Stephen Ellis' piano-and-string score), while the later, chilly scenes on the park bench alternate with Guido's memories of more intimate and erotic exchanges between the lovers.
The problem is that all the fixed camerawork, while certainly capturing Guido's emotional stasis, makes for rather unengaging spectacle – something that is not helped by the necessarily stilted nature of the dialogue. By the end the conceit has outstayed its welcome, as Guido takes on that most unattractive quality so typical of the dumpee, self-indulgence – so that when, at last, he gets up from that bench, you too will breathe a sigh of relief.Reviewed on: 01 Oct 2008