'Entanglement': Seattle International Film Festival movie review
On paper, "Entanglement" (screening at the 43rd Seattle International Film Festival on May 19) should not work. Yet, with some nuanced and creative storytelling, this movie - about a melancholic man who attempts to kill himself before falling in love with an adventurous stranger while he searches for a long-lost adopted sister - makes far more sense than it probably should.
In short: While recovering from a suicide attempt, morose Ben (Thomas Middleditch, "Silicon Valley") learns his family adopted a girl and gave her up before he was born. Now he’s on a mission to find his missing adopted sister. Jess Weixler ("The Good Wife") and Diana Bang ("Bates Motel") also star.
The film finds Ben in a very dark place. The first scene establishes the tone and tenor of "Entanglement" - a deadpan take on a depressed man's series of failed suicide attempts. Even after surviving the attempt, he remains obsessed with mapping out his entire life, in a bid to find the exact moment where his life went wrong.
The x-factor of the film is Hanna (Weixler), a girl Ben randomly meets in a store. The two share in immediate, undeniable spark. She is the catalyst for Ben, challenging him to try new experiences and consider new ideas.
Infused with a magical realism reminiscent of "Amelie," this film has a light metaphysical touch as it ponders the nature of life while Ben fills the void in his life. Middleditch's low-key, bone-dry comedic performance skillfully injects humor into the film - allowing the audience another inroad to Ben's grim outlook on the world. This mix of slightly offbeat, surreal elements and sardonic wit keep "Entanglement" from sinking under the weight of its heady reflections on life and Ben's bleak outlook.
Without spoiling anything, a third act reveal absolutely demands a second viewing of "Entanglement." And this is film that absolutely holds up with an encore viewing. Ben's introspective journey is much more complicated than it first seems.
Final verdict: "Entanglement" is an unconventional, unexpectedly surreal drama that flirts with philosophical musings about a life that could have been and the deeper bonds connecting people. Anchored by a pair of strong performances by Middleditch and Weixler, this film is an odd mix of drama, romance and comedy that somehow works elegantly.
"Entanglement" world premieres at the 2017 Seattle International Film Festival on May 19, with additional screenings May 20 and May 24. The comedic drama is unrated and has a running time of 85 minutes.