Life finds a way. Who knew that Liev Schreiber, a guy I remember from Sphere and The Manchurian Candidate, could be such a good director and writer? Everything is Illuminated is based on a book written by Jonathan Safran Foer and this is one of those heartwarming movies like World’s Fastest Indian. I do not know which is more breathtaking, the skill and authority with which Liev directs or the story and characters. Everything feels very honest and real, there are no tricks or melodramatic bullshit. In its core, this is story about a journey that we all must take, a journey of discovery and profound connection with our own personalities and the world around us. One way to do it is the blunt way, and by that I don’t mean that you roll a really mean blunt and then try to figure out life and shit. The blunt way that our hero chose when he decided to find out more about his family. This enterprise is narrated by Eugene Hutz, who plays Alex here. He’s also a singer in a relatively popular and weird music band called Gogol Bordello, I will leave the link for one of their songs after the review so you can check it out if you want.

Everything Is Illuminated [2005] Movie Review Recommendation PosterJonathan Safran Foer is a peculiar young man on a quest. He found out that he wouldn’t even be alive today if there wasn’t for some unknown woman who saved his grandfather during the Second World War. Determined to get to the bottom of this, he decides to travel to Ukraine and locate her. He hires overly enthusiastic Alex and his grumpy grandfather, who were looking for some easy money, to find her and so the journey begins.

Each character feels so real and empathetic that you simply cannot help but feeling disarmed in front of this story. If you add to that very intelligent and subtle humor that creates this “awe of wonder” vibe, you got yourself an almost perfect movie. Another element I must mention is the cinematography, with its vibrant and just a little off colors and beautiful Ukrainian landscape. Some of the scenes feel even surreal. In case you’re expecting some heavy drama, wrapped in a gentle blend of humor, you’re in for a ride because the heavy stuff is relatively sparse and left up to the viewer. The most of the movie is the journey with these strange and very funny characters. This generates a lot of jokes, especially the clash between the cultures and lifestyles. Not to mention the shitty conditions that most of the post-communist countries are forced to endure. Anywhoo, waste no time and check out this indy dramedy that I really liked.

Director: Liev Schreiber

Cast: Eugene Hutz, Elijah Wood, Jonathan Safran Foer, Jana Hrabetova

Fun Facts: Jonathan Safran Foer, the author of the novel on which the movie is based appears as the leaf blower at the beginning of the film.

Link for the band appearing:  Gogol Bordello – “Wonderlust King”

Rating:

IMDb Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0404030/

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