With a smattering of respectable award nominations, and indeed a win at San Sebastian film festival, Futuro Beach, directed by Brazilian Karim Ainouz certainly has an interesting premise. Donato (Wagner Moura) is a life guard on a beach in Brazil. A man drowns on his watch. Riddled with guilt, he seeks solace in Konrad (Clemens Schick), a friend of the drowned man. The men quickly fall for each other, and, desperate not be apart, Donato moves to Berlin to be with Konrad.

One would hope that, given the unusual circumstances in which these two men find one another, there would be plenty of room in the narrative for soul searching, pondering life and revelling the birth of something wonderful from something so utterly painful, but sadly, rather than filling the plot with these curious things, the director just fills it with nothing – not the empty, deep nothingness of grief, or of missed opportunity, but of, well, just not a lot.

Our two protagonists are alarmingly attractive, and are seemingly gazed upon for their handsomeness, rather than dissected and explored. This is certainly a thrill for the first part of the story – they hungrily explore each other, bound by their confused, desperate state (and obvious mutual attraction), and whilst this is exciting at first, after a while there is a natural craving to understand more about them, and this curiosity is never satisfied. It is assumed that Donato moving all the way across the world to be with Konrad is the only measure of their love that the audience needs, but it isn’t.  In fact, numerous opportunities arise during the film that present ample opportunity for further exploration, yet Ainouz never quite comes through.

Everything feels incredibly rushed, every moment of supposed sincerity and meaning just ploughed through without any real depth. In one particular scene, when Donato’s brother has arrived in Brazil – quite how he found his older sibling, who has all but ignored his family for a very long time, is not really explained. His brother is angry at him for abandoning his responsibilities back home, but the conflict between them plays out as nothing more than a silly spat between an immature teenager and his older brother. This is representative of basically every potential dramatic moment in the film.

The film is not terrible. The direction is average, the script less so, and it’s a real shame because the film had the potential to be something better. It’s certainly beautiful, and, just like our protagonists, is something that can be observed on a surface level, and revelled in for its beauty, but its lack of any real substance makes it draining, and the film feels far longer than its 100 minutes.

Futuro Beach
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futuro-beach-reviewIt’s certainly beautiful, and, just like our protagonists, is something that can be observed on a surface level, and revelled in for its beauty, but it lacks any real substance.