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First Look Review - ENTWINED

entwined review
Relocating to a small village in rural Greece, a doctor falls for a mysterious woman.

Review by Benjamin Poole

Directed by: Minos Nikolakakis

Starring: Prometheus Aleifer, Anastasia Rafaella Konidi, John De Holland

entwined poster

Alert! To effectively communicate my delight in watching Entwined this review will contain mild spoilers!

What a devious trick the duplicitous events of Entwined (which Minos Nikolakakis directs from John De Holland’s screenplay), a strange, folky fantasy from Greece, plays upon its luckless protagonist. Panos is a self-involved, complacent city doctor who designs to slum it in a remote village, hoping to rediscover himself within its ostensibly rustic charms. Problem is, it turns out that Panos is fatally blind to the pagan energies which actually power this odd enclave. Furthermore, what a gag the film’s sneaky narrative line also enacts upon self-satisfied film reviewers - who may well anticipate a run of the mill romantic quickie from the first act’s sleight of hand - as it builds its devastating twists upon jaded viewer expectations and achieves a final product that is scary, sad and shocking.

entwined review

Prometheus Aleifer (amazing name!) plays the aforementioned stuffy doctor who resolves to do a Shirley Valentine following the death of his father. His gadabout brother berates the stiff thermometer stuck up his kinsman’s kó̱los, remonstrating that "science doesn’t have all the answers, as much as you want it to," and so Panos, 35 and prime for a bit of mid-life crises, decides that decamping to an isolated town along the faraway coast is just the thing to anchor him. Perhaps he would have been better off simply splashing out on a motorbike or similar though, as, while driving in on the first night he almost knocks over a young woman who darts out of the deep woods which encroach upon the archaic settlement. Not the best of omens.

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It then turns out that there is a reason why there has never been a doctor in this atavistic community: everyone is old but in perfect health. It’s the Mediterranean living, Doc. The townies have no need for Panos, his services or his high falutin’ city ways, and remind him as much via oblique references to the territory’s unknowability and his unsuitability to the place.

entwined review

Not so much Doc Martin as martyr to the cause, bored Panos begins to daydream about the girl-woman he almost ran over and resolves to seek out her hovel deep in the forest. It turns out that she is the pulchritudinous Danae (Anastasia Rafaella Konidi), a naïf dressed in flowing white cotton who lives in pensive fear of her mysterious father and has a very regrettable skin condition which manifests itself in patches of bark growing from her epidermis. This timbery rash conveniently manages to avoid the skin of Danae’s lovely, Hellenic face however and, looking for someone to save, Panos predictably, inevitably falls in love.

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When she hears her father approaching, a panicked Danae encourages Panos to make a run for it. But when the doctor haplessly returns the next day he discovers - yikes! - Danae being raped by her old man! And I mean old: this white-haired wild man looks like he can barely stand up, let alone get it up. It takes one square biff from the chivalrous Panos to floor the nonce, putting papa in a coma and leaving the way clear for the good doctor to play the hero and rescue Danae, from her abusive dad, her skin condition and her lowly conditions.

entwined review

Except. What if circumstances are not what they seem? And what if Danae’s bite is far worse than her bark? Panos should have perhaps heeded the hoary warning regarding Greeks bearing gifts, or at least noted the literature of his homeland - specifically the middle books of The Odyssey, you know, the ones featuring the Lotus-Eaters and Calypso... Maybe Panos would then be familiar with the concept of the succubus, the idea of a parasitical situation which takes far more than it pretends to offer. When Danae and Panos make soft-focus love in the sunshine or before a raging wood fire, the waif’s barkne clears up. There is a mysterious lack of mirrors in this particular love-shack, which prevents Panos realising how shagged out he’s looking in comparison to Danea’s ebullience: is her vampiric absorption of the doctor’s energy precluding her from going the full Groot? Can this physician heal himself? Hang on, was that white-haired codger from earlier on actually Danae’s father after all?!

By the time the answers to these questions roll around, Panos, and the audience, realise too late just how far the sinuous storyline of Entwined has tied us in knots. Panos may be in deep skatá but for the viewer, having our lazy assumptions played in such a clever manner is a joy. Like its beauteous antagonist, Entwined is slightly rough around the edges, but also in congruity with Danae, this outwardly simple, pretty fairy tale has the compelling dark centre of the most dangerous of folklore.

Entwined is in US Virtual Cinemas from August 28th and VOD from September 8th. A UK/ROI release has yet to be announced.




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