Review 8 years – Review in FilmTotaal
Director: JD Alcazar | Script: JD Alcazar | Cast: Miguel Diosdado (José), Carlos Mestanza (David), Sergio Momo (Tito Raúl), Natalia Rodríguez (Fayna), María Maroto (Lucía), ea | Time to play: 97 minutes | Year: 2022
the opening of 8 years contains a scene that you never experience in real life, but only see in movies: two people seem to meet for the first time, but soon after it turns out that they have known each other for a long time and only pretended. This scene raises the question of who this play was actually performed for, especially since no one else was around. Probably just for the viewer, but what’s the point of being put on the wrong track for a few minutes?
In 8 years the ‘meeting’ of the two men, José and David, turns out to be a kind of reconstruction of their first meeting eight years earlier, which led to a long relationship. However, the original is not shown until the end of the film, so the viewer has few tools to interpret the scene. It’s especially frustrating because 8 years it is about seeing these two men again. They met on the Canary Island of La Palma and have agreed to spend a month there together to give their recently abandoned relationship a new opportunity.
And that’s what makes this opening so strange. Because there is a lot to do narratively with the way two exes greet each other. Do they give each other a passionate kiss, an enthusiastic hug, a careful handshake? Is the reunion awkward or does being together feel completely like always? All the intriguing possibilities that a director and actors can explore to inform the viewer about how these characters relate to one another. But that is not done, because apparently a play must be performed.
Because of this false start, it’s a long guess what the intentions of the two characters are, though it’s likely they don’t know exactly themselves. Although we see them rolling down the beach before long (because apparently that’s what romance is supposed to look like in movies), it seems more like a typical vacation fad than a foundation on which to rebuild your relationship. Like good friends then? Perhaps, but it’s rare that the two of them seem to consider themselves really nice company.
The biggest shortcoming is that hardly anything is hinted at about the individual lives of José and David (even their professions are only mentioned profusely at the end) and even less about their years of relationship. How it see? What were the reasons for the breakup? Who took the initiative in this? Enough elements to squeeze a decent story, but why 8 years he dares not name anything specific, everything floats a bit in a vacuum.
what it does 8 years a movie full of scenes, which are not always bad in terms of execution, but without a fascinating story that connects them in a meaningful way. That could have been saved by some good interplay between the two main characters, but unfortunately their dialogue doesn’t exactly jump off the canvas. Based on their long time together, I’d expect more anecdotes or inside jokes anyway.
The fact that their relationship remains so little exposed may be because José and David have lost the ability to communicate, which kills many relationships, or because the subject is too painful for them to talk about. But then a lot more should have been done with the friendly lesbian couple they hang out with, because that really works for bacon and beans. These two women are thinking about having children and at some point they announce that they have made a decision about it. But why they came to their decision remains completely unnamed.
So these characters only seem meant to fill a few scenes, not provide a thematic connection. That makes it a lot easier to interpret the movie. A half-hearted relationship could be excused as mysterious or subtle, but with two such hookups it’s clear there was no interest in turning this into anything interesting.