Blackmail Boy

GREEK TRAGEDY Tsimitselis gets roughed up.
GREEK TRAGEDY Tsimitselis gets roughed up.

Time Out says

How is it possible to make a painfully dull farce that opens with a life-shattering car accident and ends in murder, with stops along the way for adultery, rape, a gay-sex scandal, grievous betrayals of trust and, oh yes, blackmail? Co-writers and directors Michalis Reppas and Thanassis Papathanasiou manage the task, proving once again that black comedy is harder than it looks.

Shortly after Magda (Mendi) and her family return to their native Greece from a sojourn in Germany, they're hit by a truck on a dark road. Her daughter Iphegenia is killed and her husband is left an unresponsive shell; Magda, her son (Tsimitselis) and her other daughter survive unscathed. Some ten years later, the family shares a house that seems to shrink as pregnant daughter Yiota (Jeannie Papadopoulou) expands with her second child. She and her no-good husband, Stelios (Alexis Georgoulis), want to move out, but the valuable plot of land Magda promised them has been appropriated for a public project. Stelios's plan to recover the family's property through blackmail leads to an escalating series of sordid complications.

Hopeful comparisons to Pedro Almodvar's scabrous early comedies notwithstanding, Reppas and Papathanasiou don't seem to realize that unless characters have reasons for doing outrageous things, however twisted or foolhardy, the antics are just an exercise in juvenile provocation. And that gets very tired, very fast. (Opens Fri; Quad.)
Maitland McDonagh



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