Incarnation (2016) – Film Review
Director: Filip Kovacevic
Cast: Stojan Djordjevic, Daca Vidosavljevic, Sten Zendor
by Sarah Morgan
My dad has an odd theory about films – he reckons if they’re an hour and 30 minutes long, or less, then they’re worth a look. Anything longer than that demands a greater commitment he isn’t willing to give unless he has an idea he’s going to thoroughly enjoy it.
He would, then, approach Incarnation with glee – at only a shade over an hour and 20 minutes long, it’s a dream come true for him. However, the fact it feels as if it runs for about twice that length might make him rethink his entire theory.
Incarnation is perhaps best described as Groundhog Day but without the laughs and Bill Murray; if only either had appeared to liven things up a little, because it desperately needs some oomph.
This small Serbian film, which looks as if it was made on a budget of about £2.50, begins as a young man awakens on a bench to the sound of children laughing. He’s in the middle of a city and appears to have simply nodded off, although he cannot remember how he got there or his own name. Matters take a sinister turn when masked men appear and kill him.
Or do they…?
The next thing we know, he’s waking up again on the same bench and history is repeating itself. Over time, he wakes again and again, each time uncovering a little more of his own story.
Reading the premise back, it sounds like a good movie, perhaps even inventive and intriguing. Perhaps it could have been both those things in other hands, but instead it’s simply plodding and slightly irritating.
The children’s’ laughter becomes Incarnation’s answer to Groundhog Day’s ‘I’ve Got You Babe’ by Sonny and Cher, but where we felt for Murray’s character and were keen to see what he did next, we’re not given a reason to sympathise with the unnamed young man at the centre of it all; we just don’t care, particularly as it’s telegraphed early on who/what he is.
The masked men on his trail are, however, a genuinely sinister presence; being unable to see their true faces and reactions is disturbing.
There is a germ of a good idea here, but it just isn’t quite realised. Instead, it’s merely a relief it doesn’t last any longer than it does.
‘Incarnation’ is out now on DVD by Matchbox Films