Mop-haired, cherub-faced Axl (Tielve) has slept in more than 20 beds since moving from Spain to London’s hip East End, frequenting music clubs at night while searching for his estranged English father during the day. His rootlessness is matched by Vera (Franois), a Belgian bookseller trying to rebound from a breakup through a series of meet-cutes with a lanky stranger (Huisman). Alexis Dos Santos’s sophomore feature is an attractive mood piece spiked with two sex scenes (one straight, one straight plus one). Cinematographer Jakob Ihre’s handheld lenswork mixes speeds and saturated hues like a magna cum laude graduate of the Wong Kar-wai school.
The film and its young cast exude a charismatic irreverence, yet a hazy, perfunctory mood dulls the playful proceedings. The bleary-eyed leads stagger through a regimen of clubgoing, binge drinking and sexual experimentation that seems obligatory for their milieu. It may be Dos Santos’s point to evoke cosmopolitan youth as disoriented, but that’s a tired perspective, and his lush, time-lapsed rendering of this world owes much to his forbearers—especially Wong and Gus Van Sant. The conventions of contemporary youth culture and cinema could both use a change of sheets.—Kevin B. Lee