Tuesday, October 18, 2016

[Review] Chevalier

Better do some pushups and fluff your stuff. Writer-director Athina Rachel Tsangari examines masculinity and ego in Chevalier, a deadpan Greek film about six men on a boat.

The plot revolves around a group of fellas in their 40s-60s embarking on fishing trip on a fancy yacht. For no real reason other than to determine who's "The best in general", they decide to engage in a series of contests-- mental and physical--whether it's skipping rocks or measuring morning dongs. Whoever accumulates the most points wins. The prize? Bragging rights, of course. And a titular Chevalier ring to wear for a year, which is essentially an extension of the bragging rights.

Impeccably framed within the mostly compact settings, Chevalier takes an adroit dive into themes of male dynamics, competition, machismo, insecurities, and self-esteem in an amusing clash of middle-aged bro-downs with a slight undertone of homoeroticism (I took note of that shot with the eggplants), as these hairy dudes intently jockey for top status. But instead of casting a biting lure, director Tsangari's gaze opts for a drollishly comedic and low-key observational route, which works, because the film manages to catch a tone of absurdism and realism at the same time.

Sometimes it moves a bit too slow, and the narrative is one-note, but Chevalier still remains an intriguing outing, and it's got a terrific use of Petula Clark's rendition of "Let It Be Me".

( 7/10 )

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