Suntan (2016)

Suntan (2016)

Dave author picSuntan begins as an R-rated, Greek Islands take on The Office. The middle-aged and miserable Kostis (Makis Papadimitriou) is transferred to a tiny island to serve as their only doctor. As Christmas rains give way to summer sun, Kostis begins tagging along with a group of irreverent young tourists and struggles to strike up a romance with 21-year-old Anna (Elli Tringou). Director Argyris Papadimitropoulous mines awkward, David-Brent-esque comedy from Kostis’s inept attempts at conversation and clubbing, all the while gradually introducing a sense of menace.

The screenplay throws up numerous red flags – Kostis stares at Anna a little too intently, and complains about his personal life not going exactly to plan – but it’s not initially clear in what direction those flags are pointing.

The mounting sense of discomfort is compelling throughout the first half because of the tension created through uncertainty. Are Anna and her friends playing Kostis, or does he possess darker motives? Unfortunately, when Suntan tips its hand – as a scathing indictment of fragile masculinity – it slips into a repetitive and even masochistic tenor that’s more uncomfortable than insightful. Papadimitriou’s performance and Christos Karamanis’ hazy cinematography help maintain interest, but the final act would’ve benefited from tighter focus.

3 stars

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