If you watch enough debut features, you begin to notice traits common to a majority of them. Chief amongst most debut features is an adherence to a specific set of generic tropes and plot structures, a tentative unwillingness to deviate from the main premise.
This is unfortunately a trap Minos Nikolakakis’ solid, albeit a bit forgettable, debut feature Entwined falls into. From the very description of this as a dark Greek fairy tale about a woman with a mysterious skin condition who lives in the woods, you can mentally plot out a rough idea of where this piece of magical realism goes with a relatively high level of accuracy.
Even so, Nikolakakis still manages to squeeze every ounce of possibility out of his two best assests. Namely, the beautiful rural Balkan landscape is impeccably filmed, and offers a plenitude of truly beautiful vistas. As well, Prometheus Aleiferopolous and Anastasia-Rafaela Konidi provide excellent performances respectively as a young doctor who relocates to the most rural of rural areas following a personal tragedy, and as a mysterious young woman with a strange skin condition. In particular, Aleiferopolous’ tortured descent into obsession is well-realized in the film’s second half.
Entwined sets out its markers early on, and hits all of them as it progresses. There is, ultimately, a lot to enjoy in this pastiche of Guillermo del Toro films. Here’s hoping, however, that Nikolakakis becomes more willing to paint outside the lines as his career progresses.