You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘Goran’

Fast-rising helmer Nevio Marasovic’s cruelly clever feature offers jolts that play more on emotion than psychology.

Nevio Marasovic
Franjo Dijak, Natasa Janjic, Goran Bogdan, Janko Popovic Volaric, Filip Krizan, Milan Strljic, Bojan Navojec, Iva Krajnc.
Release Date:
Apr 27, 2018

One hour 22 minutes

“Worst birthday ever” doesn’t begin to cover the magnitude of what befalls our protagonist in “Goran.” Fast-rising Croatian helmer Nevio Marasovic’s third professional feature — he’s made a well-received fourth, “Comic Sans,” since this one premiered at Fantasia nearly two years ago — is not so much a psychological thriller as an emotional horror movie, in which the title character’s fortunes go from bad to unimaginably worse. Holding its poker face to the bitter end, this is a black comedy whose slow burn nonetheless eventually leaves no one unconsumed by the flame of cruel fate. Uncork’d is giving it a limited U.S. theatrical release starting this Friday.

Goran (Franjo Dijak) is an uncomplicated guy who enjoys drinking (maybe a little too often), driving a cab (in a podunk town where it’s scarcely needed) and hanging out with bestie Slavko (Goran Bogdan) at a cabin where they’ve just built a freestanding sauna. Their boys’ nights out annoy Goran’s beautiful, blind wife Lina (Natasa Janjic), and one might sympathize if she didn’t seem such a disapproving nag that we understand why he’d frequently rather pass out under another roof.

Lina’s father is widowed local timber baron Luka (Milan Strljic), who’s a bit of a bully — hence the very reluctant homecoming by brother Niko (Janko Popovic Volaric), all the more so since he’s returned from Zagreb with an apparent boyfriend in sniffy Dragan (Filip Kriza). During an uncomfortable family dinner, Lina announces that she’s pregnant. This is less than joyous news for her husband; he has reason to believe the child isn’t his. Worse still, he suspects she’s cheating on him with his own best friend.

On Goran’s birthday the following morning, his worries seem to be confirmed, triggering a confrontation that has immediate, catastrophic consequences in the form of a violent accident. Nonetheless, our now thoroughly shell-shocked hero carries on, lured to a surprise party at the cabin where all are joined by Slavko’s boorish brother Borko (Bojan Navojec).

Copious booze and drugs carry them into the next day, when … well, suffice it to say that once Marasovic and scenarist Gjermund Gisvold have sprung their first grotesque twist midway, they keep lobbing more at us with ever-accelerating speed.

There’s no ultimate message or point here, beyond affirmation that a human train wreck is a transfixing thing to behold. Yet “Goran” isn’t mean-spirited, gory, a snarkfest or most of the other things one might expect from such a baroque story. Marasovic has his actors play it all absolutely straight, as does he: The directorial style is quietly elegant with a few graceful flourishes, Damir Kudin’s widescreen cinematography emphasizing the chilly beauty of the snow-covered winter countryside.

Likewise providing useful counterpoint to the rising extremity of events is a score by Alen and Nenad Sinkauz that graduates from ambient prettiness to a low throb of internalized panic at the appropriate juncture. Overt humor is mostly reserved for some drolly incongruous preexisting pop tracks. “Goran” may in the end be simply a clever, sick joke, but it’s one that’s very astutely played.

Film Review: 'Goran'

Reviewed online, San Francisco, April 24, 2018. Running time: 82 MIN.

Production: (Croatia) An Uncork’d Entertainment release of an Antitalent and Croatian Audiovisual Center production. Producer: Danijel Pek, Maja Pek. Executive producer: Katarina Jankovic.

Crew: Director: Nevio Marasovic. Screenplay: Gjermund Gisvold, from a story by Marasovic, Gisvold. Camera (color, widescreen, HD): Damir Kudin. Editor: Marko Ferkovic. Music: Alen Sinkauz, Nenad Sinkauz.

With: Franjo Dijak, Natasa Janjic, Goran Bogdan, Janko Popovic Volaric, Filip Krizan, Milan Strljic, Bojan Navojec, Iva Krajnc.

More Film

  • Bruce Springsteen on Broadway

    Film Review: 'Springsteen on Broadway'

    Hope you like the 69-year-old version of Bruce Springsteen’s face, because it’s virtually all you’re going to see for the two hours and 40 minutes of the filmed “Springsteen on Broadway” — other than the bare brick wall of the theater casting a dim glow in the background beyond those gray sideburns, and two songs’ [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'A Star Is Born,' 'Vice' Lead 2018 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Nominees

    The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) announced their nominees for the 8th annual AACTA International Awards on Tuesday. “A Star Is Born” and “Vice” lead the pack, with five and four nominations respectively. The two leading films compete with “BlacKkKlansman,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and “Roma” for best film, while Nicole Kidman becomes the [...]

  • China's Government Orders Talent Home to

    After Golden Horse Awards Embarrassment, China Orders Talent Home for Huabiao Ceremony

    China’s government quietly ordered top Chinese talent back to the mainland from abroad this past weekend to attend a Beijing ceremony for its highest film industry honors, the loosely bi-annual Huabiao Awards. The move came just weeks after it directed mainland film executives and talent to snub after-parties and return home as quickly as possible [...]

  • Fotosintesis Readies Mexico-U.S. Immigration Animated Feature

    Fotosintesis Readies Immigration Animated Feature ‘Beast’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — Mexico City-based Fotosintesis Media, a joint initiative of Mexico’s Mantarraya Group and writer-director Miguel Angel Uriegas, is moving into pre-production this January on “Beast,” the third Mexican animated feature from the cause-driven entertainment label. News of the move comes as Uriegas presents at Ventana Sur’s Animation! forum 15 minutes of work in [...]

  • Scott Derrickson

    'Doctor Strange' Director Scott Derrickson to Return for Sequel

    “Doctor Strange” director Scott Derrickson has signed up for Disney-Marvel’s sequel. The studio, which had no comment, is about to start searching for a writer. Derrickson co-wrote the 2016 original with C. Robert Cargill and Jon Spaihts. More Reviews Film Review: 'Springsteen on Broadway' Off Broadway Review: 'Clueless' the Musical Benedict Cumberbatch is expected to [...]

  • Roma

    'Roma' Keeps Adding Theaters in Mexico

    “Roma,” Alfonso Cuaron’s deeply personal coming-of-age drama, is also a love letter to Mexico City. The sprawling metropolis — its cobblestoned streets, fading movie palaces, and lush parks — is practically a central character in the story of a family grappling with love and loss. Perhaps that’s the reason that “Roma” has been passionately embraced [...]

  • The Favourite

    Breaking Down 'The Favourite's' Insane, Royal Dance Battle (Watch)

    We’ll go out on a limb and say no scene in this year’s crop of awards films was more WTF? than the absurd and delightful royal dance moment in “The Favourite.” Debuting early on in Yorgos Lanthimos’ female love-triangle drama, the dance serves as wonderful reminder that, even when dressed like Merchant Ivory and full [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content