19th Jun2018

‘Incarnation’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Stojan Djordjevic, Daca Vidosavljevic, Sten Zendor | Written by Filip Kovacevic, Masa Senicic, Ivan Stancic | Directed by Filip Kovacevic

incarnation-dvd

Time travel is a harder thing to get right in movies, in fact you could probably count the number of truly successful movies on one hand, especially when it comes to “serious” genre cinema: Primer, Timecrimes, Looper and Donnie Darko spring to mind. Yet I think many would argue one of the best, if not the best, is Groundhog Day – however that plays the situation for laughs rather than drama, even if both this film and the Bill Murray starrer do use the repeating day trope VERY effectively.

If I had to compare Incarnation to any of the other aforementioned though, it would have to be Timecrimes as the two share very similar themes around the human condition and more… Timecrimes was THE calling card for writer/director Nacho Vigalondo and, honestly, Incarnation is a similary stunning debut feature for Filip Kovacevic.

Incarnation tells the story of a man. A man who wakes up on a bench without any idea who or where he is until he is shot by four masked assassins. The man wakes up on the same bench thinking his death was a dream until the assassins re-appear and kill him again. And Again. And again. Stuck in a hellish loop, he tries to unravel the mystery and with each death he gets closer to the truth.

Set in, at least for the most part, the same square in Serbia, Incarnation is a brilliant example of how this type of film SHOULD be done. Taking what many will think is a familiar movie trope, co-writer and director Filip Kovacevic actually subverts expectations at every turn… both visually and in terms of story. Not only taking the films setting – visually – into unfamiliar territory, as each time the protagonist gets further and further away from the Serbia square he awakes each time. But also in how the story goes in a direction audiences will not expect. We’ve seen people live through these types of stories to a) learn something about themselves, b) to save someone, or c) to stop something from happening. But not Incarnation, this repetitive day happens for a VERY different reason; and a reason that I don’t think many will see coming.

Incarnation is also very much about perception and reality, and how it relates to us as human beings and if our reality can be changed should we realise its not the reality we want or desire; it’s also a wonderful tale of personal responsibility. All of which is wrapped up in a sci-fi thriller that looks stunning: from the way in which he frames the [re]start of each day, to a beautiful scene set of Serbian hills, lit only by a dramatic stormy sky – for a first-time director Kovacevic certainly has an eye for the dramatic; and genre fans should {hopefully] lap this up in spades!

Incarnation is out now on DVD from Matchbox Films.

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