The Movie Waffler New Release Review [Curzon Home Cinema] - PREPARATIONS TO BE TOGETHER FOR AN UNKNOWN PERIOD OF TIME | The Movie Waffler

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New Release Review [Curzon Home Cinema] - PREPARATIONS TO BE TOGETHER FOR AN UNKNOWN PERIOD OF TIME

Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time review
A neuro-surgeon takes a job at a hospital to be near the man she loves, who fails to acknowledge her.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Lili Horvat

Starring: Natasa Stork, Viktor Bodo, Benett Vilmanyi

Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time poster

A contender for the year's most unwieldy title, writer/director Lili Horvát's Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time is an often confounding mix of psychological thriller and romantic drama. When it's keeping us guessing as to its true nature, it makes for a gripping watch, but once it plays its hand our interest quickly erodes.

Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time review

In her first lead role, Natasa Stork is enthralling as Marta, an eminent Hungarian neuro-surgeon who has been practicing in New Jersey for the past few years. Marta has returned to Budapest, prompted by an encounter with a Hungarian surgeon, Janos (Viktor Bodó, a Beau Bridges to Russell Crowe's Jeff) at a conference in New Jersey. The pair had agreed to meet a month later at the Pest end of the city's Liberty Bridge, but Marta finds herself stood up. Convinced that Janos might be "the one", Marta tracks him down at the hospital where he practices, but Janos denies having ever met her before.


Is Janos lying to Marta, or is she lying to herself, and subsequently to the therapist she relates her romantic and psychological woes to? She seems convinced of her encounter with Janos, though there's a glint of madness behind her eyes which grows more intense the closer she gets to Janos. Determined to hook up with the hunky surgeon, Marta quits her position in New Jersey, and much to the dismay of the Hungarian medical community, takes a position well below her pay grade at the same hospital where Janos is employed in order to be close to him. Complicating things is the intrusion of Alex (Benett Vilmányi), a young medical student who falls for Marta after she performs life-saving surgery on his father.

Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time review

For its opening half, Preparations... plays out in thriller mode. There's lots of Hitchcockian stalking as Marta observes Janos from a distance, and the ambiguity of their relationship is riveting. Stork possesses the ability to say a lot merely with a glance, the sort of actor beloved by editors as their blank expression can be manipulated to convey a variety of emotions depending on the images they're juxtaposed with.


Once the cat is let out of the bag and Horvát clues us in to just what is really playing out here, it's as though she jabbed a switchblade into a tire, the tension releasing far too quickly and leaving us to watch passively as the drama plods to a conclusion that most of us – particularly women, I suspect – will consider and unearned.

Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time review

While ultimately something of a misfire, Preparations... does introduce us to a fearsome new talent in Stork and a potentially great filmmaker in Horvát, though on the evidence here, the latter may be better suited to focusing on directing scripts by other writers.

Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time
 is on Curzon Home Cinema from March 19th.



2021 movie reviews