(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

CAPSULE: Steven, a successful salesman, is depressed. After seeing the world unimproved in spite of his best effort, Steve is ready to commit suicide when who should drop in on him but Death. Not just someone calling themself Death but Death itself. It is not a skeleton carrying a scythe but the form of a beautiful woman. The two have a long (and often tedious) metaphysical discussion about questions that intrinsically have no answer. The two characters try to decide what the Universe really needs. Sam Brittan plays Steven and Sharmita Bhattacharya plays Death. Directed by: Andrew de Burgh; written by: Andrew de Burgh. Rating: high 0 (-4 to +4) or 4/10

This is a film that looks beautiful but is often every bit as awkward as its title. It is an allegory of Christian theology. Steven is about to commit suicide over the sorry state of the world when Death in the form of a beautiful woman appears in his home to avert the sin and to have a metaphysical discussion of what is life, death, and everything in between. For a film that bills itself as "a sci-fi drama" it has no science and little to appeal to a sci-fi fan. Somehow my mind rebels at the image of Death in false eyelashes. But is it really Death? Not as we know Death. When it suits her she is actually an inter-dimensional being who appears in the form of a beautiful woman, false eyelashes and all, and she is visiting "from the 17th Dimension." (No kidding. The 17th Dimension!) Death explains that suicides if allowed to be successful do all sorts damage. At long intervals Death repeatedly shows up to discuss with Steven what he has been doing since her last visit and how the world has changed and deteriorated in the decades since her last visit.

The souls of suicides run amok, we are told. Steven complains that he lost his faith because God allowed the Holocaust to happen. That is almost a cliche. Losing ones soul because God permits huge evils to happen seems a common plot and usually it is the last character you would expect to feel to be so deeply affected.

There is no denying that Bhattacharya playing Death is an attractive presence at some level. But the words she has been given to speak do not help her create her image. It is not for me to say if Britten is attractive, but he speaks in a monotone straight out of the First Dimension.

This all may be a little harsh on the film. The director de Burgh shows the viewer a nice piece of artistic design. But it is like the two actors are standing in a painting. It takes a very short time to place the two actors in this one setting, but then the two actors go into a slow dialog that is laced with some not very believable talk and more talk and some more after that. One has the feeling that the debate would be easier to appreciate if it were presented in printed text rather than spoken. I rate THE BESTOWAL high 0 (-4 to +4) or 4/10

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					Mark R. Leeper
					Copyright 2019 Mark R. Leeper