As a wealthy family undergoing some money troubles scramble to plan for a wedding that could benefit them financially, chaos soon erupts amongst the attendees as their own problems bubble to the surface. Meanwhile, the discovery of a dodo at the lavish villa has everyone baffled and confused. By its premise alone, writer-director Panos H Koutras’s Dodo sounds like a weird, absurdist comedy somewhere in the vein of Yorgos Lanthimos’s Dogtooth. And while the filmmaker attempts to weave an existential family drama amid the insanity, the flat humour and eccentric performances render this flick dead on arrival.
The opening act is spent setting up the various key players and the dramas that are soon to unfold. Bride-to-be Sophia (Natassa Exindavveloni) is getting cold feet about the wedding. Her mother, Mariella (Smaragda Kapidi), an out-of-work actor best known for an old TV show, is likewise having doubts about her marriage to businessman Pavlos (Akis Sakellariou), as they both become taken with different people (who are also invited to the wedding). Intercut between this drama are POV shots of the dodo running through the dark garden to a charmingly wholesome soundtrack. The peculiar tone is enough for viewers to want to see where the filmmaker is going with these ideas. Unfortunately, though what transpires is far less amusing.
The absurdist premise is undermined by the childish levels of comedy on display. The jokes here predominately consist of the CGI bird angrily grumbling like a cartoon dog as the bewildered and partly terrified guests scream with the same energy as pantomime characters. Alongside the silliness there is a spattering of quippy one-liners, though not enough to make the flat humour any more bearable. Besides the lacking comedy, the soundtrack is another source of irritation. Though the short snippets of melodies initially give the film an endearing, offbeat charm, their sheer restiveness soon does away with that. By the tenth time viewers hear that melancholic piano tune they’ll become bored of it; and by the 100th it’ll drive them insane.
Though Dodo’s bizarre premise will likely grab the attention of those looking for something very different, this film’s approach seems to be to irritate audiences as much as possible – and that’s just as much fun as it sounds.
Dodo does not have a UK release date yet.
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Watch the trailer for Dodo here: