Goran is a dark comedy which has one’s head spinning around for direction as if being lost in a blizzard. Partly from trying to figure out what was real and what was hallucination, and some of it was just flat out wondering how and when the action is going to begin. The Croatian import Goran – which is also the primary character’s name – by director Nevio Marasovic is a disturbingly interesting walk through the Croatian mountains, where the only thing in abundance more than paranoia is snow.
Goran is a man content with his life. He has a beautiful wife who happens to be blind and newly pregnant; a steady – if not lucrative – job as a taxi driver; and a handful of close friends. All have converged for Goran’s birthday, and once the seed of suspicion is planted in Goran’s mind, he cannot help but cultivate it into a tangled garden of hatred, revenge, and murder.
Set against the backdrop of a secluded mountain town and the family getaway cabin, Nevio Marasovic’s comically tragic tale is a little slow to start and I actually missed out on the fact that the wife is blind until approximately midway through the movie. That part is probably my fault, but some of the introductions of characters were slightly ambiguous and ultimately wasn’t sure if the viewer was supposed to be skeptical of the new characters or welcoming. While confusing at first, ultimately, this ended up adding to the suspicion that Goran is feeling and draws the viewer into the anxiety that is continually building in his mind. In regards to the title character played by Franjo Dijak, Goran is an artist at the subtlety of facial expressions, conveying confused and conflicting thoughts and emotions with a single stare and very few, if any, words. This performance alone deems the film worthy of a viewing.
A lot of American audiences have an issue with a movie that is subtitled. I can personally attest that nothing is lost by having to “read” this movie. The intensity and tension is high enough that it overrides the need to “look away” from the visual points of interest to read what is being said. That being the case, the plot is fairly thin which made it difficult to carry us to that ninety minute mark. The pacing slows down once the unfortunate events begin to unfold, which is about the equivalent of being in fifth gear and downshifting straight to third. Goran does eventually gets back up to speed, but I would be misleading you if I did not acknowledge that it takes a bit.
Overall, Goran has some pacing issues that could have been cured with more thorough exposition early and it may have alleviated the drop in rhythm towards the end. If a comparison is to be made, I would mostly compare it to Very Bad Things, but with less antics and more accordion.
Which is never as much fun as “cowbell”.
Starring Franjo Dijak, Natasa Janjic, Goran Bogdan
Written by Gjermund Gisvold
Directed by Nevio Marasovic