The Maltese Island of Gozo has seen a lot in the last 7000 years; the imprisonment of Odysseus by the nymph Calypso, Daenerys Targaryen’s marriage to Khal Drogo, and the foreshadowed destruction of Brangelina in By the Sea. It’s understandable that this mysterious and haunting paradise would be inspiring to filmmakers, but you’re gonna need something interesting to happen on this rock, or you’ll only have made a tourism ad. Unfortunately for Gozo, a lacklustre plot leaves it struggling to make an impression.
Gozo’s principle issue concerns its protagonist – who is it? Across the film, it alternates between the two stars, and focuses on both. At times even Gozo itself takes centre stage. As the film has been redrafted, the original idea has been lost in the shuffle; Gozo reads less like a couple failing to escape their sins, and more like a mishmash of overlapping storylines. An intense start sadly amounts to nothing as the film makes a meal out of its central conceit, and a clichéd love triangle doesn’t help matters.
However, as you would hope for a movie featuring a sound designer exploring a spectacular mediterranean island, the cinematography and score are both fantastic. Director Miranda Bowen wrings every drop of melancholy out of Gozo, and Joe’s occupation is put to good use as the sounds he records exploring the island overwhelm both him and the viewer (or more accurately, the listener).
Unfortunately a flawed script means Gozo‘s moody style only serves to pile on the melodrama. A talented cast are left to drown in the messy narrative – surely the Gozo tourism board won’t be using this to advertise any time soon.
CAST: Joseph Kennedy, Ophelia Lovibond, Daniel Lapaine, John Bowe
DIRECTOR: Miranda Bowen
WRITERS: Miranda Bowen, Steven Sheil
SYNOPSIS: Lucille and Joe have moved to Gozo, a tiny island in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Malta. They seem to have it all. But when a young tourist goes missing on the island, Joe’s disquieted conscience begins to get the better of him. As the buried horrors of Lucille and Joe’s past resurface, the cracks begin to show in their homespun paradise.