He just lost his mother and he’s in trouble with the police, so Californian sous-chef Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) makes a break for it. Eventually landing in the picture-postcard surroundings of coastal southern Italy, he meets husky-voiced Euro-babe Louise (Nadia Hilker) who’s flirtatious, sexually available and conducting research into evolutionary genetics.
All this comes on like a cousin to Richard Linklater’s ‘Before Sunrise’ trilogy, but the filmmakers drop little hints of Lynchian unease along the way, before revealing to the audience that the alluring Hilker is a somewhat unusual proposition. Glimpses of transformational body-horror add to the tease – and the genre mash-up.
But it’s a major part of the film’s startling particularity that it’s also channelling Roberto Rossellini’s ‘Journey to Italy’ in the way the ancient, pagan surroundings point up the eternal yearnings behind our everyday emotional connections. Yes, the slow pace inhibits the tension, and the film can’t quite reconcile its diverse inspirations, but ‘Spring’ is a film of envelope-pushing ambition and originality.