ENTWINED movie poster | ©2020 Dark Sky Pictures

ENTWINED movie poster | ©2020 Dark Sky Pictures

Rating: Not Rated
Stars: Prometheus Aleiferopoulos, Anastasia-Rafaela Konidi, John De Holland, Maria Eglezaki, Kostas Laskos, Aleka Toumazatou
Writer: John De Holland, story by John De Holland & Minos Nikolakakis, idea by Minos Nikolakakis
Director:
Minos Nikolakakis
Distributor: Dark Star Pictures
Release Date: August 28, 2020

ENTWINED is set in the present, but nearly everything in it could take place any time between now and whenever people first started telling stories. Director Minos Nikolakakis and screenwriter John De Holland, who are both credited with crafting the story from Nikolakakis’s idea, borrow from Greek mythology and worldwide folklore for their tale.

Young doctor Panos (Prometheus Aleiferopoulos) refuses comfort from his half-brother George (writer De Holland) after the death of their father. Panos retreats from city life to Alyti, a small mountain village in Greece, where he plans to set up a medical practice.

On his way to the village, driving up a narrow mountain road, Panos accidentally hits a young woman, Danae (Anastasia-Rafaela Konidi). She is miraculously unscathed, but runs away through the trees without a word.

Upon arrival in Alyti, Panos learns that not only is he the only doctor here, but he’s the first one they’ve ever had. The residents seem mostly middle-aged to old, and for quite a while, nobody seems to need Panos’s services. It doesn’t take long for Panos to become bored and go exploring.

On a nighttime drive, Panos gets out of the car, treks through the forest, and finds Danae’s home. Danae allows Panos inside, although she declares that she doesn’t trust motorcars, and longs for the old ways. Since she then goes on to talk about horses as opposed to vehicles, Panos supposes she’s talking about mundane matters. Examining her, Panos finds that she has a strange, pervasive skin condition.

Panos discovers elements of Danae’s living situation that seem alarming. He wants to rescue her, and he’s extremely attracted to her. Danae says that she loves Panos, but she doesn’t want to leave with him. Instead, she wants him to stay with her.

Director Nikolakakis creates tons of atmosphere, even though he and De Holland make much of some plot beats that go unresolved. Given that the audience has an advantage over Panos, in that we know we’re watching a story that can’t be explained by science, we have a much better idea of Danae’s nature than he does. Even so, Panos assumes he knows what Danae really wants, and what’s best for her; Danae is indirect. This would be a relationship disaster in the making even if ENTWINED didn’t have supernatural aspects.

In the kind of short piece we might read in a collection of myths or folklore, we don’t need to know too much about either main character to get the gist. But ENTWINED is a ninety-minute movie. Panos doesn’t register as a compelling character, or even a very sensitive one. We can give Danae some leeway, because she’s coming to the situation from a unique perspective. However, despite a solid performance from Aleiferopoulos, we don’t care very much about Panos. We’re curious about what exactly is happening, but we never greatly hope or fear for him. Konidi has magical sincerity and passion as Danae.

There’s also repetition here, with a lot of wandering through the woods, and montages that underscore the ways in which certain things are connected. It’s all beautiful to look at, and maintains the mood, but we get the point before the filmmakers are done making it.

The filmmakers deserve credit for not indulging in expository dialogue. ENTWINED really does show, not tell (albeit some scenes are so visually dark that it’s hard to see what’s happening). It is possible that some of the movie is lost in translation for non-Greek-speaking viewers. ENTWINED is in Greek, with English subtitles (except for a few English-language scenes with George). When Panos talks about Danae’s odd speech patterns, we can tell that some of what she says is strange, but it’s hard to tell from the subtitles just how different her manner is from his.

ENTWINED has the feel of a timeless fable, and the look and style to back it up. It’s just a little slower and less engaging than it could be.

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