Saturday, April 17, 2021

Father & son bond over the loss of their women in Robert Jan Westdijk's charming WATERBOYS

Yet another fine European movie rescued-from-obscurity (so far as American audiences are concerned) by Corinth Films, WATERBOYS takes its title from the renowned (in Scotland, anyway) British-Irish folk rock band formed in Edinburgh in 1983, The Waterboys, whose sound has gone through various iterations during the nearly forty years that the band (with a severn-year hiatus during the 1990s) has been making music.

Music, in fact, play a major part in this alternately funny, charming and moving tale about two men -- father and son -- whose behavior has gotten them tossed out of the homes of both their women: the father's wife and the son's girlfriend.

As written and directed by the Dutch filmmaker Robert Jan Westdijk (shown, right), the movie offers parents who've long been smitten with The Waterboys' music, while their son, not especially a fan, makes music of his own via the cello, which, we eventually see and hear, he plays quite beautifully. 

The father, Victor, is essayed by a noted Netherlands-born actor Leopold Witte (below, right), while son Zack is brought to slowly resonating life by the younger Dutch actor Tim Linde (below, left). 

Initially, we're not terribly taken with either of these guys, nor do they seem to be with each other. But as we get to know them, we begin to understand both what is going on between them and how and why each man continues to struggle with his own individual problems. Which are certainly noticeable -- particularly Dad's.

While we meet the very pretty (and very angry) girlfriend of Zack, we never even see Victor's wife, Elsbeth. Yet so well-written and -conceived is Westdijk's screenplay that Elsbeth comes quite marvelously to life in any case. She's always there, somehow working behind the scenes, and her importance to both her husband and son comes ever clearer as the film moves on.

With suddenly having nowhere to live, Zack must accompany his dad -- who's a successful crime fiction writer -- to a book-signing in Edinburgh, where Dad is confronted by a woman from that branch of his publisher who refuses to put up with even an ounce of his bullshit (the very fine Helen Belbin, shown above, with her back to us) even as Zack meets and bonds with a lovely young hotel worker, played by Julie McLellan, below. 

By the gentle, moving finale, no major bridges have been crossed, nor tons of growth achieved. But a small change can be even more believable and certainly important, and so it is here. "We are who we are," this movie seems to say, but even who we are can be tinkered with and perhaps improved a bit.

From Corinth Films, in Dutch (with English subtitles) and English, and running just 93 minutes, Waterboys hits home video this coming Tuesday, April 20, on DVD, and is available via digital streaming on Prime Video (members can view it free).

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