The Man with the Answers
Sometimes the best that can be said about a journey is that it was uneventful. When the journey in question is a cinematic road trip, uneventful doesn’t quite make for compulsory viewing. While The Man with the Answers is sweet natured and looks ravishing, it’s a bit too slender to truly latch onto.
Victoras (Vasilis Magouliotis) lives a quiet, vaguely hermit-like existence in Athens, with unreliable employment and regular visits to his ailing grandmother in hospital. With her death, there’s not much keeping him in the city, and so he begins a road trip to the Bavarian Alps to reconnect with his mother. On the ferry to Italy, he meets Matthias (Anton Weil), an enigmatic German with occasional kleptomaniac tendencies, who playfully wheedles his way into getting a ride.
There’s a questionable logic in balancing a narrative on a character such as Victoras. He’s emotionally flat to the point of being neutral, and while Magouliotis does his best to interpret the character as someone of substance, his characterisation is hampered by the limitations in the writing. Writer/director Stelios Kammitsis appears to be encouraging his audience to pay attention to what goes unsaid, but he’s assuming rather a lot. The way in which the story is enacted is so minimalist that it borders on aloof.
Magouliotis and Weil have an easy companionability, with Mattias gently coaxing Victoras out his shell with a natural plausibility. It’s inconvenient that their road trip isn’t quite as emotionally illuminating as it needs to be, and there comes a point when audiences might just want the duo to hurry up and reach their destination (despite the tantalising beauty of the Italian and German countryside). The journey does come to an end, and, once there, the narrative happily offers sparkling redemption for its previous procrastination. There might be a man with the answers, but the film has a few difficulties posing the right questions.
The Man with the Answers is released digitally on demand on 25th June 2021.
Watch the trailer for The Man with the Answers here: