Review: Whimsical 'Long Weekend' filled with unexpected surprises
Courtesy of Sony
Never has walking into a film completely blind yielded such jaw-dropping results, but Steve Basilone’s whimsical romantic dramedy “Long Weekend” manages to keep you guessing. Basilone’s feature debut is easy to poke at, though after being stuck in a pandemic fueled world for over a year, watching two human beings connect over strange circumstances reminds us that good can still exist. This is a nice little gem of escapism that comes out of nowhere.
Finn Wittrock, usually Ryan Murphy’s muse, is playing against type as Bart, a struggling writer dealing with depression and alcoholism. After he drunkenly blacks-out at a local movie theater, he’s awakened by the cute Vienna (Zoe Chao) who seems interested and the two head for a bar and connect instantaneously. But certain things about Vienna concern Bart, like her always paying for dates with thick wads of cash and not owning a cellphone. What gives?
The truth comes out and it puts a wrench in their eloping plans. One of Vienna’s main objectives is to help an ailing mother (hence the cash) but the reasons for how or why this eventually plays into the story is best left unsaid. What I can say is Wittrock and Chao make a charming pair, and their journey is one of serendipitous joy. She plays a tune from one of her favorite bands – Long Weekend – and it becomes the foundation for their love affair which takes some unexpected turns when you’re least expecting it.
Again, the less going in the better and it’s remarkable how Basilone pulls it off. If the audience is willing to suspend a good chunk of disbelief (and they’ll need too) “Long Weekend'' is a rewarding experience. Wittrock and Chao manage to stay invested, bringing forth enough wits and delightful chemistry to rise above the trudge of romantic dramedy wannabees. Though the romance (and film) is rooted in fantastical elements, Wittrock and Chao seamlessly ground the film. Because of them, it’s easy to believe the central relationship and therefore “Long Weekend'' finds strength in familiar elements.
LONG WEEKEND is now playing only in theaters.