LFF 2020: Never Gonna Snow Again – Review

Release Date – TBC, Cert – N/A, Run-time – 1 hour 53 minutes, Directors – Małgorzata Szumowska, Michał Englert

The residents of a gated community trust their deepest secrets and worries with a mysterious, quiet masseuse (Alec Utgoff)

When it comes to being relaxed how much are you more likely to give away? What if you barely know the person you’re giving away this information too? According to the residents of the highly gated community in which Never Gonna Snow Again takes place the answer is quite easily – especially when a good massage is involved. Over the course of their increasingly frequent sessions with quiet Ukrainian masseuse Zena (Alec Utgoff) figures including wine-drinking widows and distant wives place their trust in the man they have invited into their homes. They let out their worries and secrets as the stranger who has barely been in town long gets to work relaxing them like it seems noone else can.

Initially it’s quite interesting hearing what such people have to say, it certainly acts as the main hook of the film for a large portion of it. The development of trust in someone they barely seem to know anything about and the words they disperse certainly has something that you can connect with. However, this can only go so far. It takes the film up to 50 minutes to bring in something more of an extra element, or at least the story – that of which there is – to develop in some way.

While most of the goings on that make up the film continue to take place in the homes of the highly gated estate in which the wealthy customers live there are one or two elements that stray outward. The laughs may not exactly be frequent throughout the film, but then again this doesn’t always seem to be the intention; when it is the tone changes slightly to create a speedier, more comedic, feel when the lines aren’t quick throwaways to satirise the residents of the community. One such scene being a dance routine turned magic act set to music that sounds like it could have come from the Nintendo Wii, whether this was the intention is a different matter.

Yet, throughout the whole film it’s Utgoff’s near-silent central figure – almost healer – who we observe throughout the course of the narrative. From the start of the film it’s made clear that he’s an outsider to the area – his silence, behaviours and mannerisms show that he recognises this. It almost feels at times as if he’s trying to get information on the residents, or perhaps the country (the Earth perhaps? – there’s something sometimes mysterious and otherworldly about the performance, allowing the character to become more of an enigma). One thing’s for certain, the residents clearly trust him, and it makes for something interesting, if occasionally thin, to watch.

While the open monologues and trust of the community’s residents make for something interesting these only take Never Gonna Snow Again so far, sometimes taking a while to pick back up by allowing the viewer to observe a bit more, or something slightly different.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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