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Film Review: “Sometimes Always Never” Opts Out of Emotional Engagement for a Quirky Visual Style

Written by: Patrick Howard | June 12th, 2020

Film poster: “Sometimes Always Never”

Sometimes Always Never (Carl Hunter, 2018) 1½ out of 4 stars.

Bill Nighy (Their Finest) and Sam Riley (Maleficent) play a father-and-son duo with gargantuan skeletons in the closet. Alan (Nighy) and Peter (Riley) reunite to identify a body that may be Alan’s long lost son, Michael. When they discover that the body doesn’t belong to Michael, Peter has to make peace with the fact his father will be staying with him while Alan is convinced that an unknown online scrabble player is Michael.

Sometimes Always Never desperately wants to successfully exude the quirky visual style of Wes Anderson and the slice-of-life plotting of any indie movie on the festival circuit. The film is always casually at war with itself. Carl Hunter will cut to an animated graphic defining a particular word, or show us characters in a car driving from left to right in a wide shot that appears to made out of papier mâché.

L-R: Sam Riley and Bill Nighy in SOMETIMES ALWAYS NEVER ©Blue Fox Entertainment

He’s consistent, but none of this flash elevates the viewing experience. The seemingly aimless chatter is serviceable enough, but Nighy and Riley’s sharp physical and emotional characterizations are the only things that add any weight. You never want to say that two styles of storytelling can’t mix well, but in the case of Sometimes Always Never, Hunter gets bored with the mundanity and swaps it out for a lighthearted caper that fails to capture any attention after the 15-minute mark.

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Patrick Howard has been a cinephile since age seven. Alongside 10 years of experience in film analysis and criticism, he is a staunch supporter of all art forms and believes their influence and legacy over human culture is vital. Mr. Howard takes the time to write his own narrative stories when he can.

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