Movie Review: How “Winter Flies” when you run away from your Czech home

winter5

If only every comedy had the surprise twist that the Czech road picture “Winter Flies” saves for its finale.

It’s simple, and simple-minded, and it so upends expectations that it leaves you the way every comedy should — tickled.

It’s about two dorky teens sprinting across the country in a stolen late-model Audi. They’re headed…somewhere. To France? Or maybe some place Heduš (Jan Frantisek Uher) can “join the French Foreign Legion.”

Why? When we meet him he’s covered in camo, paintball-sniping passing cars. He may be plump and clumsy, but he’s a good shot. Besides, he tells Mára (Tomás Mrvík), the slightly older friend he flags down in that Audi, “they don’t ‘bully’ in the Legion.”

Kid’s seen a few movies, but how he missed the ones with all the Legion bullying going on remains a mystery.

Their trip is an odyssey interrupted by a series of flash-forwards. Mára’s been caught, and a couple of cops (Lenka Vlasáková and Martin Pechlát). He won’t spill his name or hometown. But by Václav Havel, he has a tale to tell.

Mára’s more mature. Or at least he seems that way. Heduš is downright childish.

They hit the open road, dodge the big cities and stop to ditch their phones so that they’re not tracked. They’ve both seen those movies.

Along the way, they’re hassled by some creep who proceeds to try and drown the dog they refuse to take off his hands, they practically kidnap a pretty hitchhiker (Eliska Krenková) and try to impose their crude, childish notions of sexuality upon her and Mára tells tales of his beloved grandpa, who taught him “to drive before I could walk.”

The cops, who are dishonest, faintly corrupt and homophobic (“Are you a ‘tranny’ in training?”) decide he’s got “an active imagination and a sentimental side” (in Czech, with English subtitles). But we can see that.

At every step of the way, we fear for them. With Heduš’ ungainly cluelessness and Mára’s misguided confidence, what else could we do?

We know it all came to an unexpected end. One kid’s being grilled by the police. But it isn’t until that ending arrives that we see how unexpected it is.

“Winter Flies” — the title is a snowy insect metaphor — is short, sweet, kind of crude but always to the point. That’s the thing about road comedies. Even when they’re meandering, it’s never an aimless wandering. They’re always taking you somewhere, and in this case, it’s a destination you never see coming.

3stars2

MPAA Rating: unrated, crude language, sexual content, animal cruelty

Cast: Tomás Mrvík, Jan Frantisek Uher, Eliska Krenková, Lenka Vlasáková

Credits: Directed by Olmo Omerzu, script by Petr Pýcha. A Film Movement release on Film Movement Plus, Amazon Prime.

Running time: 1:21

, Jan Frantisek Uher, Eliska Krenková, Lenka Vlasáková

Credits: Directed by Olmo Omerzu, script by Petr Pýcha. A Film Movement release on Film Movement Plus, Amazon Prime.

Running time: 1:23

 

 

 

This entry was posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news. Bookmark the permalink.