Saturday, June 23, 2018

Movie Review: "Breath" (2018)

Director: Simon Baker
Year: 2018
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes

A couple of young teenagers take up surfing and meet a veteran surfer who takes them under his wing and changes their lives forever.
"We didn't know it yet, but we had already imagined ourselves into a different life." (Image Source)
Teenaged boys come of age through surfing...and autoerotic asphyxiation. Well, that's certainly a new one! "Breath" is the feature film directorial debut for Simon Baker, who is best known as the lead actor from the TV show "The Mentalist." Baker also stars in the film and helped write the screenplay along with Gerard Lee, and it is adapted from the novel of the same name by Tim Winton. The story takes place in the mid-70's and centers on two young teens, 13-year-old Pikelet (Samson Coulter) and his much more rambunctious, troublemaking friend, 14-year old Loonie (Ben Spence). After Loonie busts up his bike goofing off on the highway, they are picked up by a group of surfers who take them to the beach. After that, the two boys begin to surf and are eventually taken under the wing of a guru-like veteran wave catcher named Sando (Simon Baker). He shares with them his philosophy on life and surfing, and though they don't know it when they first meet, Sando and his wife Eva (Elizabeth Debicki) will change each of the boys' lives forever in very different ways.
"Never had I seen something so beautiful, so elegant, so pointless." (Image Source)
"Breath" is a pretty standard coming-of-age film...until it isn't. It is set against breathtaking and beautiful settings and is full of glorious surfing moments that are very fun to watch, though they aren't anything we haven't already seen 100 times before. The story has pivotal life-changing moments, as well as a sexual awakening for the protagonist as the boys learn about all the wonders that life has to offer outside of school and home life. Actors Samson Coulter and Ben Spence offer two excellent debut performances. Simon Baker is also quite charming as their surf guru Sando. Baker gets to wax philosophical about life being an adventure, facing fears, and how surfing is a physical and spiritual experience more than just a sport. Elizabeth Debecki's Eva spends the majority of the movie stoned and sulking over her injured leg, which ended her skiing career. She feels underappreciated by her husband Sando, who disappears on surfing adventures without warning. It's when Sando heads off on one of his unannounced trips that the movie takes an odd, drastic turn away from surfing as Eva takes Pikelet under her wing and shows him the joys of sex, drugs, and autoerotic asphyxiation. The fact that an adult woman has sex with a 13-to-14-year-old kid will definitely be a deal-breaker for some viewers and will repel them from this film entirely. Hell, we could physically hear the patron behind us shifting in his seat uncomfortably as this plotline began. Even if you can get over Eva taking advantage of Pikelet and excuse it because it was the 70's and all, you know, free love and all that, it's hard to deny that right around this time, there is a jarring tonal shift that can be a little off-putting.
"I wonder what the ordinary people are doing today." (Image Source)
"Breath" is a bit long and doesn't have the best pacing, so it winds up feeling much longer than it is. Still, there are many excellent performances in this movie. Everything else about it was mediocre for us, and though it has elements that can be admired, it isn't a film that ever fully gripped us.

My Rating: 5.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~7.2/10
RT Rating: 74%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.

Please be sure to check out Lolo Loves Films all over the internet!

No comments:

Post a Comment