Preparations to be together … exam: fun but disturbing
n The elliptical and suspenseful thriller by Lili Horvát, a Hungarian neurosurgeon, Marta (brilliant newcomer Natasa Stork) has something on the brain. She will do anything to be close to her peer and soul mate, Janos (Viktor Bodó), even leaving her high-level job in the United States to join her seedy hospital in Budapest. She says their romance started at an international conference; he says they never met. One of them is lying. But why?
Right from the start, we are presented with a stanza from Sylvia Plath’s poem, Mad Girl’s Love Song. Writer / director Horvát takes Plath’s ideas in a new direction. The madness of the boys is a crucial theme.
Marta has the bluest eyes and the palest cheeks. Like a freshly painted statue of the Virgin Mary, she is nothing if not alive. She walks around Janos. She’s also dexterous with her scalpel and tough with sexist berks. Imagine Alex from Fatal Attraction crossed with Cristina Yang from Grey’s Anatomy.
The rhapsodic traveling shots in the heart of Budapest generate thrills. That said, the city never looks quaint. Janos (a sort of Oliver Sacks character, determined to blur the line between science and fiction) has a strong vision for the metaphorical importance of “ugly buildings”. Let’s just say that Horvát – in many ways – pays attention to the ugly side of the capital.
The ironic ending is perfect: playful and disturbing. The lesson some will take from Marta’s quest: if at first you are unsuccessful, spy, spy, and spy again.
95mins, cert 15, Curzon Home Cinema