Directed by: Pedro Pimentel
Written by: Machado de Assis, Pedro Pimentel
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THE SECOND LIFE
Yes. I have some issues with director Pedro Pimentel's film. This film. But I would not want them to discourage you from seeing it, because this is a film that even in it's imperfect form shows how movies can imagine the unknown. It's feels like it's heading for a great leap, we just know it is, and then it just seems to settle. Yes, there is a climax of sorts but for me, it just wasn't enough.
In essence, this is a supernatural, biblical title. It raises questions on belief and spirituality, and does so using it's own particular take on these subjects. Spiritual reincarnation? The journey to possessing the perfect soul? These ideas are all contained within this movie. We see glimpses of our world at different points in time, and even get a small glimpse of the afterlife. Or at least a part of it. From what I can gather, "The Second Life" claims Earth's inhabitants are actually old souls. Souls destined to live over and over again to cleanse their spirit, until worthy of entering heaven. A novel idea. Said individuals, after reaching a certain level of being, in their past lives, are granted the ability to chose certain aspects of their new life to be. It may seem a little confusing, and I'd be lying if I said it were super easy to follow along with. None-the-less, right or wrong, that's what I took from this title. From here, the story goes on to show the life of one such soul, and a bad decision made in the here-after.
"The Second Life" is a remarkably confident film technically. Cinematographers and directors have had a love affair with our eyes for a long time, and this film proves that. It looks great as a low budget production and easily holds it's own against some of the bigger pictures I've seen this year. Save a block-buster or two. Yes. This is enough to keep our eyes and ears interested in the film, just not enough to propel it to greatness. There's a flow in the camera work and editing that carries us along, rarely becoming untethered. This is not a hand-held fiasco, rather a well thought out picture visually. Yet it does feel a little long in the length, but this may be from the dialog itself which is quite extensive. "The Second Life" feels like it tries to give us a deeper understanding of life, yet just ends up becoming a poem read from one to another, when there just happens to be a camera present.
Speaking of the dialog and the acting, there were some excellent performances contained within these thirty five or so minutes. There were also some less than excellent lines as well. From the same actors. "The Second Life" really feels unbalanced, up and down. One particular segment comes to mind that just had me thinking how ridiculous and overly dramatic certain scenes could be. It involves our lead trying to light a match, in vain. This particular instance came across as so overly dramatic, it felt comedic. Between segments like that one, and a few that felt like a piece of cardboard, I just wasn't sure what to think anymore. Considering some scenes were performed with some real talent. By the same people. I also noticed the use of phrases felt out of place. Terms like "the universe" or giving the exact time of death, felt wonky and wrong for the characters and general era. It may feel like I'm coming across as harsh but in reality, I'm being quite frugal. Certain scenes just felt wrong which was maddening because I watched the same characters hit their marks perfectly. Was this a constant through the film? No. Just some minor gripes regarding an otherwise good production.
This is a title I wish I could give spoilers. It would help address some of what I've written above. Yet any spoiler, could potentially ruin the story and that's not something I want to do. "The Second Life" screams to be watched and talked about. Both the good and the bad. This is a title that still manages to be a good film, even with it's faults. The scoring, costuming and locations all make this an atmospheric gold mine of a production. One that says: Hey. We're all professionals. We know the drill. See for yourself. "The Second Life" doesn't deliver on every level, but most. Here's a title that shows ambition can be rewarded even without a large, massive budget. Check out the trailer and maybe pay these guys a visit. Your eyes will thank you.