BPM (Beats per Minute)

BPM (Beats per Minute) ★★★★

A historical drama that deserves to be called important but doesn't forget to have aesthetic sensibilities; great but not groundbreakingly so. Its monotonous, repetitive structure – drawing a thematic link between the futility of attempting to make an uncaring society care and the inevitability of a body slowly succumbing to illness – makes for some excellent slow-burn despair that BPM more than earns. Featuring tight dialogue and some fantastically shot and tonally layered sex scenes, the film is an infinitely rewarding watch in its best moments.

In the end, though, it might be too restrained and subtle for its own good. The occasional dips into surrealism and melodrama hit hard, but a lot of BPM's runtime is spent on iteration and elaboration instead of the development of new ideas. With the help of some really smart editing choices, protest, organizing, partying, and sex blend together, but the theme doesn't coalesce into a strong thesis statement that would have made the ending punchier.

Giving the film a rating that amounts to "pretty good" feels unsatisfying in the sense that you kind of feel like its sharp vision should either work perfectly or fail completely, but eh, what can you do. Throw it in the rewatch–and–reevaluate pile, I guess.

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