DVD Review: Restless

Indie movies on DVD have the best trailers, and that's how I ended up seeing Restless.  The trailer painted it as a kind of funny, macabre story of love and death, and it's directed by Gus Van Sant.  Mia Wasikowska plays Annabel, a young woman dying of cancer.  At a funeral she meets Enoch (Henry Hooper), a young man so fascinated with death he attends memorial services and funerals.  They become friends, and she's even okay with the fact that he sees and talks to a ghost of a kamikaze pilot.  As they become closer, we find out where Enoch's fascination with death comes from, and how sick Annabel really is.  Of course they're going to fall in love, she's going to die, and that will fix Enoch.  From about 20 minutes into the film you know this is where it's going to go so I don't think of this as a spoiler.

I'll give Henry Hooper a pass for being dull as he's supposed to be a little screwed up, and is basically a new-comer to films.  However, this is the first film I was really underwhelmed by Wasikowska.  I was impressed with her in Alice in Wonderland, really liked her in The Kids Are All Right, and LOVED her in Jane Eyre.  Perhaps cutting off all her hair removed her acting super-powers because she's mostly boring.  Her character is supposed to be the manic-pixie-dreamgirl with cancer, but I kept wishing she was Carey Mulligan.  Wasikowska can pull of angry and depressed (and can actually do the pixie thing okay too), but she can't do the light-hearted sadness this role really required.  The gimmick of Enoch seeing a ghost is good at the beginning (he gets all the good lines) but fades pretty quickly and stops being interesting.  Alas, I really wanted to like this more, but it's just meh.

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