sometimes always never
DIRECTOR: carl hunter (debut)
starring: bill nighy, sam riley, louis healy, and alice lowe
REVIEWER: lyall carter
A detective fantasy / family drama where a love of words helps a father reconnect with a missing son.
I'd always had a sense that Bill Nighy deserved more than a supporting character role in a film. A role with a bit more substance and space. He is overwhelming brilliant in all of his performances, bringing nuance to roles that are generally so small that other lesser actors would struggle to make a ripple with. But finally we have Sometimes Alway Never which is not only a brilliant film, but is the perfect vehicle to fully display Nighy at the very heights of his acting powers.
A man searches tirelessly for his missing son who he has not seen in years. When a body is located, the entire family's life is turned upside-down and they must all learn how to reconnect with one another.
Sometimes Always Never is a simple enough story. Its the execution and the acting that elevate it from being good to great. The way in which the narrative unfolds is perfection as it draws you into its mystery, sadness, and slightly odd and dark humour.
For a lot of the film it feels as if you're watching a play from the way in which the shots have been set which helps add to the intimacy of the story. Director Carl Hunter's style is best described as 'Wes Anderson Light' with the running themes of scrabble and a slight oddness which adds a twist of quirk to the whole undertaking. The themes that Sometimes Always Never explores are universal: loss, regret, father son relationship dynamics, and the power of reconciliation.
As I've said before and will say again Nighy is hands down brilliant in this. You feel privileged, as an audience member, to witness such a performance. Sure, its not a dramatic physical transformation and he's not playing some musical superstar (so his performance will probably be swept under the rug come awards season) but its just sublime. There are moments when the dialogue has been swept away and its just Nighy staring at the camera. You see his soul ache, you can see it in his pained face and hopeless eyes; it truly is extraordinary.
In light of Nighy's performance Riley's could easily be forgotten but it shouldn't be as its magnificent in its own understated way proving once again that he is one of the best actors of his generation.
Anchored by an award worthy performance from Bill Nighy Sometimes Always Never is a poignant and darkly humorous tale of loss and reconciliation.