BIFF 2013 - Me And You - Cinema Review

'Olivia looks set to brighten things up but, sooner rather than later, Bertolucci castrates her vigour, and we are left to spend the hour with two mopers whom it is very difficult to care for.'

Bernado Bertolucci's supremely dull Me And You - a title that just screams originality and interest - follows youngster Lorenzo, as he skips a skiing trip for some alone time in his apartment block's basement, only to find he is soon joined by his junkie half-sister, Olivia.

As setups go, that's hardly compelling so Bertolucci can perhaps escape some of the blame for failing to draw out from it some semblance of interest or drama. Fun was off the table from the beginning.

A troubled youth, Lorenzo mopes around, alternatively annoying pet shop owners or making his mother feel uncomfortable with vaguely Oedipal-sounding suggestions, before he buys seven days worth of food and burrows down in the cellar. Lifeless up to this point, the arrival of high-on-life-and-a-lot-else Olivia looks set to brighten things up but, sooner rather than later, Bertolucci castrates her vigour, and we are left to spend the hour with two mopers whom it is very difficult to care for.

The more concerning problem with Lorenzo is that his 'troubles' are never really explored or identified by the director. Where that approach can work - in something like Silver Linings Playbook, for example, where Pat's condition is never fully diagnosed by the film - here it just feels as though this option was convenient to the story. If we understand some of Lorenzo's pain then sympathy might be more possible but, equally, it would force Bertolucci to address specifics, something he seems unconcerned with. The film functions because it comfortably labels Lorenzo as 'odd'.

Olivia, on the other hand, could be sympathetic but instead feels like a wild child merely in token disruptive mode. She's given little humanity and is eventually forced to go through the predictable cold turkey ringer, so beloved of every film featuring a drug addict since Trainspotting.

Meanwhile, Bertolucci mixes in the appropriate music which is just hipster enough for both of them to like, old enough for his audience to respect and young enough for his leads to listen to. Bowie by any chance? Yup. The frequent load blasts of the man from Mars do wake your eardrums up but they fail to give the film the energy is so clearly needs, Me and You remaining, stubbornly, in a director-induced stupor of cold relationships and anonymous characters.




Me And You screens again on Tuesday 16th.

The 19th Bradford International Film Festival runs from 11th to 21st April 2013 at the National Media Museum and other venues near to the city.

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