2013 Philadelphia Film Festival, Film Festivals, Movie Review, Movies

Overall, this year’s film festival has been outstanding with most of the films I’ve seen falling into the Very Good and Excellent categories. With seeing 22 films, I expected at least a few clunkers, but I never did. However, Jan Hrebejk’s Honeymoon came pretty close.

The film opens with the wedding of Tereza (Anna Geislerová) and Radim (Stanislav Majer). On the way to their wedding, they need to stop to get one of their guest’s glasses fixed. The store owner, Benda (Jirí Cerný), recognizes Radim and crashes the wedding and subsequent party. Radim denies knowing Benda and Tereza grows increasingly suspicious. At first, Benda gets along well with the other guests and especially the children until he turns mildly violent against a misbehaving boy. Deep into the party, Tereza’s suspicions get to the point where she insists that Benda leave. As he exits, he suggests that she look at the wedding present he left, which turns out to be an urn with Benda’s name on it.

Of course, the mysterious stranger returns and reveals to Tereza what his story is. He does so via an excruciatingly long monologue. As it turns out, Radim does know him and they share a shadowy past where Radim bullied Benda’s friend and lover back in school. Once his past is revealed, previously calm Radim reverts to his bullying ways.

All of this is handled fairly clumsily. The build up is painfully slow and comes to a grinding halt during Benda’s confession. As he seeks his revenge, Benda uncomfortably teeters on the edge of “crazy gay killer.” Radim’s sudden transformation feels false. Toward the end of the film, we get a flashback that visualizes most of Benda’s confession. It’s intended to show the veracity of Benda’s claims but that veracity is manifest in Radim’s reaction. It’s redundant and Hrabejk shows a lack of confidence in his own storytelling.

Using the festival’s scoring system, I ranked this Fair or 2 out of a possible 5.

Check out all my 2013 Philadelphia Film Festival posts!