Sunday, June 9, 2024

Treasure (2024) Tribeca 2024

Stay with me because much like the movie, this review of TREASURE is going to be all over the place.

The daughter (Lena Dunham) of a Holocaust survivor (Stephen Fry) decides that she needs to connect with the past her parents never spoke of, so with her father reluctantly in tow she heads to Poland in order to find out where she came from.

There is enough great stuff in this film, that had the script and pacing been a bit better this might have been an Oscar contender. As it stands now it's an okay film with some great things in it.

Based on a novel that is based on the author's own story, TREASURE is a weird mixture of reality and fantasy. I  have no clue what actually happened and what didn't, but   a lot of the plotting doesn't make sense to me. For example right off the bat I can't imagine that Dunham's character wouldn't understand why her father wouldn't want to get on a train in Poland. IS she that clueless? There are some other turns that seem to be there just to keep things moving.  I kept wanting to move the characters differently than how they went.  I'm not certain I like the two ladies that keep appearing. 

There is a problem with the pacing of the film. Some of it seems to ramble too long for little pay off. I'm not always certain why things went a certain way with the result the film drags in places as the film doesn't pay off. And while some moments drag, others, like the Auschwitz sequence, seem a little to quickly paced.

That said there are some good turns I really liked, such the examination of how families in Poland are  made uneasy when the original owners of their property show up. There is this vast amount of uncertainty as Dunham and Fry's characters kick up feelings their hosts don't want to deal with.

I also love Dunham and Fry's characters. If there were justice they would be in the Oscar mix.  I say this as someone who normally doesn't care for Dunham all that much, but here she reminds me of several people I know. She was never herself but her character.  Stephen Fry gives a performance for the age here. It's a glorious performance of hidden cues. Sure he's joking on the outside, but if you watch the small gestures and the look in his eyes you see a man crushed by his past.  The scene when he realizes whose coat he has broke me. It's not anything showy, but something small and real as we can feel him teaching back 50 years to touch his father. Fry is magnificent and deserves and Oscar

Unfortunately that is unlikely to ever happen.

I am frustrated by TREASURE. It is a stunning film at times and at others it kind of boring. I want the film that is promised by the good parts.

Is it a bad film? No, but it's good enough you're going to wish it was better. That said if you can be forgiving and want to see a flawed film with greatness in it give it a go.

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