TL;DR – There is an interesting film here, but it just does not quite come together
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
In a film, time can be just as much part of the narrative landscape as the words the actors say. It can shape a film, it can direct a film, it can hide and it can reveal. Today, we look at a film that plays with time in its narrative, and while it never quite works it is interesting.
So to set the scene, we open in on a young Jonas (Nicolas Bauwens) playing Tetris on the Gameboy, while his dad fills up the car. Rage quitting he sees something out in the darkness and is attacked by a memory one he can’t shake. Many years later, Jonas (Félix Maritaud) is a very different person, but he is still haunted by the past.
This is a film that jumps back and forth through time, back to the 1990s when Princess Dianna had just died and then forth to the now. This was a bit of a cultural shock for me because it roughly lines up with my own life, age-wise. Thankfully the fact that everyone is speaking French is enough to stop it from getting too overwhelming.
One area where the film, really does not work is in its pacing. Right from the start, it presents itself as a film with a mystery at its heart. Well, the mystery is there, under the surface with veiled references to Nathan (Tommy-Lee Baïk), indeed, that is the name that Jonas uses on his hook up app. They constantly reference that Jonas is hiding something and that something bad happened in the past. However, as the film goes on, they want to spend most of that time hinting and creating atmosphere then forwarding it. I like me some atmosphere, but it can’t be sure if it wants to be a mystery film or a character piece.
It is not until the final act of the film when all the time jumping and vague references come to fruition. It’s here where it all comes together and all the cast gets to have some shining moments and it all hits. While this is happening, you kind of just wish the film had narratively gotten here sooner, so there would be more time to both process and work through the revelation of the pool.
In the end, do we recommend I am Jonas? Well, look. This is not a bad film, it is a pretty okay story. But you can see the possibilities of it being even more than okay. Maybe it was the budget that held it back or the set in stone story structure, but it just does not quite come together. If you liked this film, we would also recommend Pain and Glory (Dolor y Gloria).
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of I am Jonas
Directed by – Christophe Charrier
Written by – Christophe Charrier
Music by – Alex Beaupain
Cinematography by – Pierre Baboin
Edited by – Stéphanie Dumesnil
Production/Distribution Companies – En Compagnie Des Lamas, ARTE & Netflix
Starring – Félix Maritaud, Nicolas Bauwens, Tommy-Lee Baïk, Aure Atika, Marie Denarnaud, Ilian Bergala, Pierre Cartonnet, Marcel Bouzige, Nicolas Sartous, David Baïot, Julien Naccache, Ingrid Graziani, Edith Saulnier, Constance Lecavelle, Jean-Luc Rehel, John Kharalian, Peggy Mahieu, Bernard Massoni, Annie Pardo, Ali Pekoz & Cyril Bertucci
Rating – around an Australia: M;