Franz Rogowski’s War Story Puts Style Over Substance

Feb 23, 2023

Home Movie Reviews ‘Disco Boy’ Review: Franz Rogowski Stars in War Story That Puts Style Above Substance | Berlinale 2023

While ‘Disco Boy’ is gorgeous to look at, a more coherent script would have done wonders to hold the movie together.

An illegal immigrant enlisted in the French Foreign Legion meets a Nigerian freedom fighter on the battlefield, and this encounter changes both men’s lives. Giacomo Abbruzzese’s highly anticipated directorial debut, Disco Boy, promises to give war a fresh perspective, exploring how apparently very different people have many similarities. Unfortunately, the lack of connectivity tissue in the script and the insistence of Abbruzzese to put style above substance damages both the pacing of Disco Boy and the message it is trying to convey.

Disco Boy follows the journey of Aleksei (Franz Rogowski), a Belarusian ex-convict who illegally travels to France hoping to join the Foreign Legion, a special squad where anyone can get a French nationality in exchange for five years of service. On the other side of the world, we meet Jomo (Morr Ndiaye), who joined the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) because he believes disrupting the corporation oil chains in Nigeria can finally free the most populous African country from the neo-colonialism grasps. One man fights for himself, and the other fight for the freedom of his people. But both have a special relationship with music and dance, hence the movie’s title.
The stories of Aleksei and Jomo are told separately until their promised encounter, which only happens deep into the movie’s runtime. This decision allows Rogowski and Ndiaye to explore the emotional depth of their characters. However, it also hurt Disco Boy’s pacing, as we feel we are stuck into a lengthy introduction that nevertheless doesn’t have the time to dive deep enough into the complicated relationship between the Foreign Legion and the French’s hegemonic action in Africa, or the contradictions of guerrilla fighting. There’s a complex background that Disco Boy only teases, and the whole time we feel there’s still much more to explore in Aleksei and Jomo’s mesmerizing micro universes. And while Disco Boy is beautifully shot and shows Abbruzzese’s prowess as a director, it’s hard to shake the feeling there’s a better story to tell with these fantastic characters.

RELATED: ‘Manodrome’ Review: Jesse Eisenberg Struggles With Inner Rage in Raw Deconstruction of Masculinity | Berlinale 2023

Abbruzzese should be unquestionably praised for the way he experiments with filmmaking, despite the mixed results. Two particular dance scenes, for instance, one set around a bonfire and the other in a nightclub, will linger in the viewer’s memory long after the credits roll. A whole action sequence shot using thermal goggles, however, becomes too chaotic to be satisfying. But both in Disco Boy’s hits and misfires, there’s a boldness to Abbruzzese’s approach to storytelling that gives him a unique voice. This only makes it more disappointing when the story of Disco Boy fails to properly explore the ideas Abbruzzese brings to the table.

Disco Boy explicitly intends to discuss the real possibilities of seeing the world through your enemy’s eyes. And when it comes to Aleksei, the movie also wants us to understand how his desperate decision to join the army to get a passport is not enough to prepare him to face the real horrors of war. But due to its disconnected arcs, too often, Disco Boy asks the audience to accept changes instead of taking the time to explain how particular characters shifted their psychological state. For most of its runtime, Disco Boy is not unlike looking at beautiful images and wondering about the story behind these pictures. Cinema is not a static medium, though, and Disco Boy challenges the viewer’s attention with its unbalanced pacing.

Things do get better in the third act, when all the pieces of the puzzle start to come together. Still, by then the movie has pushed the focus of the viewer to the brink, and everyone’s mileage will drastically vary when it comes to the thin emotional payoff offers. So, while Disco Boy is gorgeous to look at, a more coherent script would have done wonders to hold the movie together.

Rating: C+

Disco Boy had its world premiere at 2023’s Berlin Film Festival.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
Publisher: Source link

Inside Jeff Bezos’ Mysterious Private World

Over the years, they acquired a real estate portfolio that included a gated 5.3-acre compound in the Seattle suburb of Medina reachable via the longest floating bridge in the world; the South Texas ranch where Bezos used to spend summers with his grandparents,…

May 28, 2023

Natalie Portman Called Out The Double Standards Women Face At Cannes A Day Before Jennifer Lawrence Was Critiqued For Wearing Flip Flops On The Red Carpet Instead Of Heels

“The expectations are different on you all the time, and it affects how you behave — whether you're buying into it, whether you're rejecting it, or whether you're doing something in between.”View Entire Post › Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated…

May 28, 2023

Bella Thorne Is Engaged to Producer Mark Emms

Bella Thorne is ready to shake it up. Roughly a year after ending her engagement to Benjamin Mascolo, the Disney Channel alum is set to wed Mark Emms, producer of the Netflix docuseries Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives. Vogue reported the news May 26, sharing a snap…

May 27, 2023

Melissa McCarthy Once Had A Volatile Experience On Set

Melissa McCarthy Once Had A Volatile Experience On Set Melissa McCarthy is getting candid about her worst experience ever on a set — and it honestly sounds really bad. While Melissa didn't name any names, she says there was one…

May 27, 2023