“Entwined” is a moody, handsomely-mounted modern day Greek folk tale that never quite finds the urgency or suspense to lure us in.
It’s about a beautiful, mysterious woman (Anastasia Rafaella Konidi) who lives in the woods, and the new doctor (Prometheus Aleifer) in the village who falls under her spell.
Panos (Aleifer) has just buried his father when he takes the job in Alytis. It’s a primitive place, where you reflexively ask “Is there a phone in the village?” (in Greek, with English subtitles) when you already know the answer is “No.”
He’s all but shunned by the elderly locals, who tell him there’s never been a doctor there before. But there’s this ethereal music emanating from the woods. He hears it at night. And when he hunts for the source, he finds Danae (Konidi) living in primitive conditions, playing 78s on a wind up Victrola.
“I do not trust motorcars or their drivers,” she complains. “I long for the old ways.“
An ugly skin condition gets his attention, but before Panos can treat her, the grumblings of a drunken old man upstairs, “my father,” sends him scurrying. But he’ll be back.
People try to warn him. His brother George (screenwriter John De Holland) gave him the “science doesn’t have all the answers” lecture before he moved. The locals mutter “This is a small village. You are from the city” brush-off.
Never you mind, he returns to the house, confronts the old man, and eventually takes a drink of the face-melting local retsina Danae offers, and dozes off. He awakens to a house where “old ways” have the whiff of ritual. The fire in the hearth?
“This fire must ever be allowed to die!”
Walking back to his truck he gets lost.
“I could almost swear the trees are THICKER.”
Will Panos ever be able to leave? How long will he even try?
“Entwined” has trouble making us fear for the well-intentioned doctor. The sedate pacing, coupled with what feel like low stakes — Danae is never cruel or threatening — almost emasculates the predicament.
Aleifer’s Panos struggles to figure a way out, but never in ways that point to rising panic, desperation.
First-time feature director Minos Nikolakakis gives us a vivid sense of place, parks us in an enchanted wood, but leaves out the menace his hero must feel and face to escape it.
MPAA Rating: unrated, violence, sex, alcohol, some profanity
Cast: Prometheus Aleifer, Anastasia Rafaella Konidi and John De Holland.
Credits: Directed by Minos Nikolakakis, script by John De Holland. A Dark Star release.
Running time: 1:29