Eden ★★★

As an honest portrait of youthful artistic promise slowly turning into melancholy, resentful middle age, EDEN succeeds brutally. But beyond stating some truths about the also-rans of the creative world who litter its streets, invisible to all but themselves, the film doesn't appear to have all that much to say beyond a few repeated themes.

Which, as a film centred around musicians and DJs, is not a bad way to structure a story. As in any popular music, repetition occurs in all of our lives, from daily hygiene routines to forming destructive habits or falling into the same bad relationships over and over again. Our lead is not exactly heroic, but I would guess he is sympathetic to a great number of people the world over, and what small pathos there is comes from seeing him repeat his/our mistakes over and over while others try to break their patterns - for better and worse.

The whole film has the texture of a hangover - everything's a little bit fuzzy and difficult, even (especially?) the party scenes, and the very air seems tainted with heartache and compromise. Mia Hansen-Love's THINGS TO COME is a much stronger character study, perhaps due to its narrower focus. Then again, it's also a warmer film in general, and one gets the feeling that Hansen-Love wants us to feel as cold as many of her characters do, adrift in their own generation and searching for meaning and connection during a time when pills, fashion and EDM were favoured over having a personality or any discernible goals beyond bland hedonism.

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