Review: ‘Pals’

"Pals" is a serviceable but rather predictable drama in which marital tensions erupt due to an unexpected event.

Four well-heeled Athenians wake up to find a corpse in front of their holiday home in “Pals,” a serviceable but rather predictable drama in which marital tensions erupt due to an unexpected event. Solid performances, plus pro direction by writer-helmer Sotiris Goritsas (“Balkanisateur”), flag this largely for film weeks.

Middle-aged buddies Haris (Ieroklis Mihailidis), an engineer, and Andreas (Vangelis Mourikis), a doctor, arrive with their respective younger wives, Marina (Maria Protopapa) and Lina (Lena Kitsopoulou), at the latter’s comfy villa in the Pelion Peninsula, five hours’ drive from Athens. Also along for the Easter break is Myrsini (Evi Daeli), Andreas and Lina’s young daughter.

When an unidentified dead body turns up in their front yard the next morning, the local cop, Themistoklis (Costas Xykominos), is loath to solve the rich folks’ problem, as he’s only on minimum wage. But under pressure from higher-ups, who are afraid of tourism being hit, he starts questioning the quartet.

Both couples claim to have seen and heard nothing, though Myrsini muddies the waters by saying she saw two men early that morning. Everyone naturally assumes the cadaver is Albanian.

Meanwhile, on walks and in talks, the four start spatting, and tensions rise when Marina reveals she’s pregnant, perhaps by Andreas.

Goritsas’ script rarely rises above the problem that the two couples’ problems are (a) not very interesting and (b) hardly original. As outsiders in the small rural community, they’re disliked by the locals and don’t especially endear themselves to the audience either. Solution to the central mystery is pedestrian.

Still, the good cast makes the most of the formulaic story and largely convince. Lensing by Stamatis Yannoulis of the verdant, mountainous peninsula is a big plus throughout.

Pals

Greece

Production

A Rosebud release of a SoGo Films production, in association with Greek Film Center, Hellenic Broadcasting Corp., Nova. (International sales: SoGo, Athens.) Produced by Sotiris Goritsas. Executive producer, Costas Lambropoulos. Directed by Sotiris Goritsas. Screenplay, Goritsas, Sofia Nikolaidou, Eleni Boura.

Crew

Camera (color), Stamatis Yannoulis; editor, Takis Koumoundouros; music, Nikos Portokaloglou; art director, Ioulia Zoiopoulou; costume designer, Daisy Kourasi; sound (Dolby Digital), Dimitris Athanasopoulos, Portokaloglou. Reviewed at Thessaloniki Film Festival (Greek Films '07), Nov. 20, 2007. Running time: 85 MIN.

With

Maria Protopapa, Vangelis Mourikis, Ieroklis Mihailidis, Lena Kitsopoulou, Evi Daeli, Errikos Litsis, Kostas Xykominos, Yorgos Yannapoulos, Odysseas Papaspiliopoulos, Costas Xykominos.
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