Sitting in a window perched above her desolate flat, Anne watches various people, snatching up her personal belongings like vultures who've stumbled across a rotting carcus. Anne is leaving her life in Holland far behind, deciding to lead a solitary, nomadic lifestyle in Ireland. During her travels through the austere landscapes of Connemara, Anne comes across the home of a hermit, Martin. Considering Usuzla Antoniak's Code Blue was probably my favorite film of the past several years, I was very interested in tracking down her feature debut. Nothing Personal is a nuanced character study that could be described as touching and gentile, as it observes the relationship between personal freedom and companionship. Doing so very subtlety, Nothing Personal presents us with two characters in Anne and Martin, human beings who have experienced serious loss in their lives. When the two of them first meet, Anne has absolutely no desire towards any type of human connection, even lashing out at Martin whenever he tries to be cordial. Martin is significantly older than Anne and while never stated, I believe Martin's willingness to reach out to Anne stems from him seeing himself in her - a human-being who has experienced so much pain that they shut off the outside world. Nothing Personal is another great example of how a script should serve as a blueprint to a storyline, letting actors and directors feel out the story they want to make. The two lead actors, Stephen Rea & Lotte Verbeek, are really fantastic in this film, telegraphing subtext that goes far beyond the script, touching on human-beings need for emotional and physical contact. As expected, Nothing Personal is also extremely well-crafted, with beautiful cinematography which helps capture the isolation and conflicting emotion which Anne, our main protagonist, feels. Nothing Personal is a startlingly impressive debut feature from Urszula Antoniak that beautifully captures the tug and pull relationship between fear of loss & emotional need.
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