Wednesday, 1 February 2017
Play Me a Love Song
Zagreb. Struja, Mario, Deni and Zlajfa are four members of the underground rock band "When Dirty Harry Met Dirty Sally", but never manage to finally find their big break. They play in the KSET club, but it is interrupted by a police raid, where officer Siniša is targeting Zlajfa, trying to arrest him for marijuana possession. Struja is also indecisive about his relations with ex-girlfriend Anja, since he is unsure if he loves her. Finally, the four accept an ofer to play love songs at a wedding, but once there, they are in shock — it is a wedding between Siniša and Anja. Struja plays provocative songs, which causes Siniša to lose his temper and kidnap Struja and Anja in his car. Siniša brings them to an abandoned factory and wants to shoot Struja, but the other rock members and police officers intervene and stop him. Anja admits she is pregnant with Struja.
Director Goran Kulenovic, a fresh hope of Croatian cinema, proved his sense for humor and character development in such TV shows as "Bums and Princesses" and the nostalgic "Black & White World", yet his 2nd feature length film, "Play Me a Love Song", didn't quite catch him on right foot, since he rarely rises to the occasion in the storyline. Even though it is set in the rock 'n roll world, and even though it starts with an exquisite 4-minute long camera drive from the exterior into the KSET club interior, the movie fails to truly ignite, featuring too much empty walk, though the actors are all great, especially Kulenovic's associate in "Bums and Princesses", excellent Hrvoje Keckes as the "ageing" rock band member Zlajfa who delivers the best jokes in the film (in one of them, he says to his colleagues: "Real beauty comes from within", after which he burps). A few neat moments, yet the film is decisively bellow some of the best rock 'n roll movies, such as "Singles". A major detriment are the final 20-30 minutes which fall into excessive-melodramatic nonsense typical for the Croatian cinema: in it, the bad guy Sinisa actually draws a gun and points it at Struja — at his own wedding, in front of all the witnesses! Even dumber, he points the gun at the father of the bride (!) and later kidnaps Struja and the bride and ties them up in an abandoned factory. What does he think to accomplish? To kill Struja in front of her and then she will love him? This whole "action" finale is so utterly false and misguided that the viewers will get headache from all the illogical plot holes of such a stupidly written direction of the story. This undermines the impression, though the movie would not have been great without it, either, since it lacked that certain ingenuity or energy to catapult itself into greatness.