A great blend of dry humor and emotional situations make up for a slow pace.
“THE PERFECT DAY” stars Benicio Del Toro, Tim Robbins and Mélanie Thierry as aid workers in a war-torn conflict zone who while trying resolve a crisis, must trek across the Bosnian country-side seeing the harsh realities of the people living there. Along the way they meet up with a United Nations Analyst played by Olga Kurylenko who is onsite to determine the need of aid relief efforts in the region since the war is (technically) over.
I really heard nothing about this film prior to watching, nor had I seen the trailer. The listing of Benicio Del Toro and Tim Robbins are alone what pulled me to this one. Technically released in 2015, this Spanish film directed by Fernando León de Aranoa made the rounds through the European film-festival circuits at the end of the year with only a couple showings in the US.
With no expectations, this film highly entertained and told me a story I haven’t seen, based on a subject matter I have never watched on film. It was a very engaging story with great performances from Del Toro, Robbins and the entire cast. There was a strong chemistry between the group and it sold the aspect that these people were a group that spent a lot of time together. Their life was not an easy one, and I enjoyed the subtle indications through the dialogue that each of them had their own reasons for being there.
Providing aid relief in dangerous conflict-zones was a subject I was unfamiliar with, and it was very thought provoking to see the life these men and women lead. The dangers they face to help those that are in a sense, the collateral damage of war, was very compelling and held my attention. The story did not glamorize the life and never forced anything, it delivered its messages in a subtle manor which naturally inspired thought. The cinematography by Alex Catalán was excellent. There were several breathtaking views during this film that perfectly captured the rugged terrain of the settings. There were a collection of nice wide sweeping, and overhead shots that added a visual appeal to a script that was focused solely on the drama and doses of subtle hilarity.
The subtle delivery of the small messages this film wanted to convey were done so with ease and never forced in the viewers face. This enables them to land with as much impact as the creators hoped for in my opinion. The dialogue in this script was another strong factor that led to enjoyment. To compliment the more dramatic undertones, there was a witty, dry humor throughout, in particular by Tim Robbins. It may have felt like much of the dialogue among the characters was mundane but it did its part of creating interesting conversations with doses of who these people were, and the situations they encountered without the need for simple exposition.
While all the main characters were able to capture the seamless delivery of the sarcastic and odd humor in their own moments, Robbins was without question the one who carried the comedic weight of this one on his shoulders, and shined in his performance. Benicio Del Toro was great as always and completely feels like a veteran aid worker who has seen a lot over his years. He also shared some great chemistry with Robbins and balanced the film well as a more reserved persona, compared to Robbins’ more eccentric one.
On the downside this film had an extremely slow pace and while it was carried by the performances and great dialogue it could have been much better if the story was a little more developed. I get the tone of the script was very singular to the issue they were trying to resolve but overall the story-line never really went anywhere. This was a thorough snap-shot into the world of aid workers but there could have been more intrigue built through a story that maybe covered more time. This would have simply allowed for more development of the job these people do, something that could have sped up the pace a bit and built some tension.
However these are just small complaints about an already entertaining film. The cast certainly delivers, although I also need to add that I feel Del Toro, as good as he was, in the end was not utilized properly. He could have added so much more to this film and during there were a couple times I was hoping for that moment where he could turn on his true skills, and the story simply never gave him the opportunity.
“A Perfect Day” is a beautifully filmed story about a subject not often covered, and the fresh unique feel, make it worth the time. There was some wasted potential but as a viewer you can connect with the characters, look into an rarely examined theme, and appreciate the polished camerawork that pull you into the settings. It most likely will not blow your socks off, but it will certainly hold your attention and is easily worth a watch.
– Starring –
Benicio Del Toro, Tim Robbins, Olga Kurylenko, Mélanie Thierry, Fedja Stukan, Sergi López
– Directed By –
Fernando León de Aranoa
Time: 106 min
MPAA Rating: R (For language and some sexual references)