Monday, March 7, 2016

Pjinstillers (Painkillers) (2014) - Gjis Blom

Pjinstillers or Painkillers in English is a dutch film about young student and pianist Casper Van Riel who dreams of becoming a composer. At the beginning of the film, he was able to succeed in his audition to join a youth orchestra, but this is dampened by him finding out that his mother who raised him as a single parent has cancer. This causes him to search for the father he has never known, to examine his life, and do whatever he can to keep his beloved mother alive.

 The movie starts out kind of slow, it is to be expected in films of this genre , but it felt like some things were unnecessary. Like the sideline story line of the girl that Casper likes who is just using him. It may have been better if they simply focused on him dealing with his mother, the orchestra , where the true love interest lies , and his search for his father. It felt like simply piling up on Casper for the sake of adding more drama when there is enough in the movie in the first place, although the added dimension of the girl's racist father was amusing it really was not needed.

 As for the performance, many of the supporting characters were pretty mechanical, but the main characters did deliver, Gjis Blom who plays Casper and Susan Radder who plays Anouk, a fellow orchestra member did inject life into the film. Gijs was able to portray sad and stoic without being boring, and Susan was a burst of sunshine in the scenes she was in. Birgit Schuurman who plays Marit , the cancer stricken mother of Casper showed just the right amount of pain , weakness, strength and fun that showed the different facets of her character in a short period.

 The second half of the movie is where things start to get good. When all the fillers were removed , and the film focused on the main story line , and the pace started picking up. It is also where Gijs performance goes from good to excellent. Obviously it may be due to the fact that their is more emotion in this part of the story, but if handled incorrectly it could wind up too melodramatic, it didn't. The last part was more raw and real, except for the cliche bicycle ride and journey to Prague that felt forced and out of place.

 The vague ending seemed useless somehow, a clear resolution to that part of the story may have been better. As a whole the film is actually a mess, and is somehow confused in what it tries to be, is it a drama. a comedy, a teen romance? It tries to be all of that and not wholly succeeding. It can be enjoyable if you get through the first part , since the second half is a delight, just don't expect too much out of it.

 Watch Trailer Here

 Directed by Tessa Schram

Gijs Blom as Casper Van Riel
Birgit Schurman as Marit Van Riel
Susan Radder as Anouk
Massimo Pesik as Pim
Raymond Thiry as Robert Van Laren
Tijn Docter as Felix

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