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'Bokeh' Wastes A Ton Of Story Potential...But It Sure Looks Great

By James Jay Edwards
Released: March 24, 2017
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Synopsis
On a romantic getaway to Iceland, a young American couple wake up one morning to discover every person on earth has disappeared. Their struggle to survive and to reconcile the mysterious event lead them to reconsider everything they know about themselves and the world.

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Film Review
Production
What if you and your significant other were the last people left on Earth? That's the question asked, and somewhat answered, by Bokeh.

Bokeh is about an American photographer named Riley (Frailty's Matt O'Leary) who takes his girlfriend, Jenai (Maika Monroe from It Follows) on a romantic adventure to Iceland. One morning, Riley and Jenai wake up to find themselves all alone in their hotel. As the couple explores the town, they find that everyone has disappeared. Sensing something long-term has happened, Riley and Jenai gather food, steal a car, and find a house in which to set up shop. At first, it's like a permanent vacation, but soon enough, the pair must come to terms with what actually caused the extinction of every other person on the planet.

Bokeh, photo courtesy Screen Media Films, 2017 All rights reserved.


The great "The Twilight Zone"-esque setup is kind of wasted in Bokeh. It seems as if co-writers/co-directors Geoffrey Orthwein and Andrew Sullivan used up all of their creativity on the concept, then faked their way through the rest of the movie. Once the universe is built and the couple are the only living things left, there's not much else of consequence that happens.

Riley and Jenai drive out to a reservoir, strip down and take a swim. The camera drifts off to the side, and the audience hopes for a monster, a stalker, or even a rogue oil slick to enter the picture. Nothing. Riley horseplays around in a supermarket, riding a shopping cart through the aisles until he crashes. Maybe his arm is broken and there are no doctors or paramedics left? Nope, he's fine. The movie is full of events that could be catastrophic and should raise the stakes, but they're all false alarms. Bokeh is all concept and no plot.

Bokeh, photo courtesy Screen Media Films, 2017 All rights reserved.


And it's an unexploited concept. There are so many directions that Bokeh could have gone. Riley and Jenai could party it up Night of the Comet style. They could fight off vampires in an I Am Legend tribute. Hell, Orthwein and Sullivan could toss in an ironic twist "The Twilight Zone" ending and go full "Time Enough at Last" with it. The possibilities are endless. Bokeh just doesn't take them.

That's not entirely true. There is an engaging ending that tries to save the film, but after sitting through the middle hour, it's too little too late. It's frustrating, because Bokeh is an unsatisfying execution of a brilliant idea. And that's a shame.
Cinematography
Photographically, Bokeh looks terrific. The film was shot on location in Iceland, and cinematographer Joe Lindsay shows off the beautiful rolling landscape in just about every frame. The external shots give the characters plenty of room to breathe, Lindsay's camera making sure to leave plenty of the gorgeous mountains shining through the background. Even the internal scenes all seem to have a good sized and well-placed window in the room that lets more of the stunning scenery peek in. Like Land Ho! from a few years back, Bokeh serves as almost a tourist film, making Iceland look like an extremely inviting place to visit.

Bokeh, photo courtesy Screen Media Films, 2017 All rights reserved.



Genres
Drama, Sci-Fi
Release Date
March 24, 2017
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