Meet Me In Berlin is a short film of 17minutes, featuring Norman Reedus released in 2007/2008 depending on whether you believe Wikipedia or IMDB. It is a glimpse into the life of guy from New York who had planned to meet a girl in Berlin, only he never made it because he was in car accident en route. As the only person he knows in the country he reaches out to her on the phone and learns that she is housebound because of a knee operation. The film follows them easing each others lonliness, connecting tenderly through phonecalls.
This is a really touching, emotive short with perhaps a large weight of that coming from knowing Reedus really was in a car accident in Berlin. He was launched through the windscreen of a car when it was hit by an 18 wheeler lorry, resulting in injuries that required scerws in his nose and a titanium eyesocket. In interviews he has described himself as looking like a hamburger, that it was so bad he wouldn’t even let his mother visit and he honestly doubted whether he’d ever work as an actor again. He filmed this during his recovery and the state of his face is not a result of special effects make up.
It’s a truly wonderful short conveying a lot with very little. The dialogue is sparse but that is what creates such an impact, what’s not said paints a picture with more depth than any conversation could. It’s easy enough to take it at face value or read more into it depending on your own experiences. As someone who has often found themselves isolated and relying on their phone as a lifeline, the character’s really resonated with me. This is definitely worth a watch and leaves little to be disappointed about.
Dark Harbour, 1998, is another realtively early film in Norman Reedus’s career and it’s one where if you look it up at all you will have the ending spoiled. This is a shame because it’s the ending that really makes this film. I heard about it before I watched it and it definitely changed how I viewed the film. Therefore the first thing I’ll say is, if you can avoid finding out the ending, do. In fact don’t look up anything to do with this film if you’re going to watch it. To be fair knowing won’t ruin the film but it will take the edge off.
In as little detail as possible the premise of the film is a less than happily married couple are on their way to catch a ferry to their private island for a romantic weekend. On the way they pick up a young man they find beaten up at the side of the road. They repeatedly cross paths with this man due to bizarre and seemingly random circumstances. During this time seems to become quite close to the wife and marital drama ensues. The whole thing concludes in an effectively subtle manner that doesn’t come together until the very last moment.
Whilst interesting this isn’t the greatest film ever. I found it slow to get going and falling short of reaching it’s full potential. At times I was frustrated and bored. I found Alan Rickman’s american accent annoying, although I try to attribute that to the fact it was an unfamiliar way of hearing him speak. Speaking as a biased fan, Norman Reedus was the best part about this film, I can see why he is so often cast as these types of characters because he just plays it so well. His awkward young man in an uncomfortable position was played brilliantly and I truly felt really sorry for him. Where as Polly Walker’s character felt really underdeveloped, I wanted to know more about her. Despite being pivitol in the film she never really seemed to do anything.
That said it is a movie well worth seeing if you come across it. Well filmed with some lovely views, it has just enough character development to become invested in the outcome and the ending is such that you will want to watch the whole thing again. It is a film of subtlities that can only be appreciated post viewing, which is why despite all the negative things I have to say about it I really recommend seeing it. Afterwards I came away with the sense that you’re supposed to be slitghtly bewildered throughout, it’s what gives weight to the ending.
Six Ways To Sunday was released in 1997 and is one of Norman’s earliest films. Bar Boondock Saints I have found that he’s not renowned for being in particularly good films, preferring to star as uncoventional characters in small, indie films that are what many would consider weird. With this in mind I started watching with very low expectations fully prepared to be bored and uninterested in the film. However I was very pleasantly surprised by the performances and story, enjoying the whole thing much more than I expected. So much so actually that I now want to read the novel, “Portrait of A Young Man Drowning” by Charles Perry, that it was based on.
The film follows Harry, played by Reedus, who is a very timid 18 year old boy still living with his overbearing mother. Harry inadvertently ends up becoming a member of the local mob and through it grows and develops, albeit unconventionally, in ways he’s never been able to whilst living at home. As this happens his mother’s possesiveness and jealousy grows and the conflict that arises as a result actually makes for a very interesting story with a surprising twist at the end. Whilst watching I found it had a very Norman Bates feel to it with the whole creepy mother/son relationship which at times makes for uncomfortable viewing which in all honesty is a testament to the quality performances from Norman Reedus and Deborah Harrie.
Unlike The Boondock Saints this is the kind of film you watch for plot and character development. The attention to detail allows for empathy towards the different characters despite the dark undertones of the story. I found myself quickly drawn in and caring for the outcome of not just Harry but several of the other characters as well. I was eager to see how everything was going to play out and was not left unsatisfied by any of the results. Whilst not a light hearted film it also doesn’t feel as dark as it could given the violence involved, somehow managing to strike just the right balance between the two to give a powerful yet enjoyable film.