×
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.

Director:
Nevio Marasovic
With:
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

  • Contract Placeholder Business

    Hollywood Agents Blast Writers Guild Over New Proposals

    The war between the Writers Guild of America and Hollywood agents has escalated as the two sides battle over the rules on how writers are represented. The latest volley emerged Friday from Karen Stuart, president of the Association of Talent Agents, who accused WGA leaders of misleading its members and asserted that the guild leaders [...]

  • Xavier Legrand Custody

    Cesar Awards: Xavier Legrand’s ‘Custody’ Wins Best Film

    Xavier Legrand’s feature debut “Custody,” a tense portrait of a family torn by domestic violence, won best film, actress (for Lea Drucker), and original screenplay at the 44th Cesar Awards, which took place at the Salle Pleyel in Paris. The awards are France’s highest film honors. “Custody,” which marks Legrand’s follow up to his Oscar-nominated [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Late Show With Stephen Colbert' Win Publicity Campaign Awards

    Hollywood publicists have selected “Crazy Rich Asians” as the top movie publicity campaign for 2018 and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” as the best television campaign. Warner Bros.’ “Crazy Rich Asians” topped the campaigns for Disney’s “Black Panther,” Fox’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Paramount’s “A Quiet Place,” Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and Universal’s “Halloween” for [...]

  • How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes

    How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes Sports and Showbiz in an Entertaining Mix

    Walking through the El Segundo studio where veteran sportscaster Rich Eisen tapes his daily “Rich Eisen Show,” the sheer density of sports memorabilia is overwhelming — everything from game balls to jerseys, gear, autographs and uncountable photos are crammed onto every inch of wall and desk space. But step into Eisen’s dressing room, and the [...]

  • Tessa Thompson Nnamdi Asomugha

    Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha to Star in 'Sylvie'

    Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha are set to star in the feature film “Sylvie.” Eugene Ashe has written the screenplay and will direct with production currently underway. More Reviews Album Review: Gary Clark Jr.'s 'This Land' Album Review: Lil Pump's 'Harverd Dropout' The film is described as a love story set in the cool jazz era [...]

  • Night Fury dragon Toothless and Hiccup

    Box Office: 'How to Train Your Dragon 3' Soaring to $50 Million-Plus Launch

    “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” is soaring toward a $53 million launch weekend at 4,259 North American locations, early estimates showed on Friday. That estimate is well above Universal’s forecast in the $40 million range at 4,259 sites — and ahead of its predecessors, 2010’s “How to Train Your Dragon,” which made [...]

  • Actors With Disabilities Deserve a Hollywood

    Dreaming of a Hollywood Ending for Actors With Disabilities (Guest Column)

    Picture a world in which an actor with a disability wins an Academy Award. Sadly, that storyline remains no more than a Hollywood fantasy. In recent years, the #OscarsSoWhite trending hashtag campaign has shed light on the lack of diversity in the movie industry. Yet ahead of this year’s Oscars on Feb. 24, society’s definition [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content