Written by: Patrick Howard | June 12th, 2020
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.
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.