Director: Aaron Rookus | Script: Wander Teunis | Cast: Martijn Lakemeier (Paul Schipper), Claire Bender (Tessa), Jesse Mensah (Dido Willems), Flip Zonne Zuijderland (Aram) and others | Time to play: 81 minutes | Year: 2023
Paul Schipper worked his way up at Apollo, read Spotify and is about to cross over to London as ‘Senior Playlist Curator’. A logical step in the career of a twenty-something bisexual from the provinces with a vocation for high performance, and a boost to his deep-rooted relationship with Tessa. When Paul’s promotion is unexpectedly jeopardized, he ends up in a short-lived identity crisis that takes place over a summer day and night in Amsterdam. With his rushed but recognizable first feature film goodbye unknown Director Aaron Rookus unleashes a good load of self-mockery on the capital.
Dressed in a lilac fishnet tank top and straight-faced, Paul makes his way through the streets of Amsterdam. He has little respect for the people around him and behaves like a jerk. Especially the immediate environment of him has to suffer. During a dinner with his parents from West Frisia, who find it difficult to distinguish between tapas and potlucks, he repeatedly manages to kick their butts. As Dad proudly shows Tessa a movie from the old box set, Paul scolds him for his old-fashioned taste in music, blind to his father’s unconditional love. Discomfort cuts nicely.
The fact that Paul’s trip lasts one day makes things go well. It jumps from one sketch about yuppy Amsterdam to the next, culminating in the kumbaya-heavy farewell party for Carlijn and Jim, who leave for Peru to volunteer. For many young adults, the show will be a clever combination of recognition and self-mockery. Then suddenly Paul finds himself face to face with his ex Dido, whose first novel, Goodbye Stranger, about their broken relationship, has just been published.
Due to the volatile script, the supporting roles are not explored in depth. Dido, in particular, comes off badly. A shame, because the lightness with which Paul’s bisexuality continues in the plot is refreshing. Tessa embarrassingly asking Paul about her previous sex life with Dido during a walk is a comedic example of this. By the way, she is the only character who has some space besides Paul. The chemistry between Claire Bender and Martijn Lakemeier produces the best moments.
Rookus builds a space for catchy music and tries to respond to contemporary issues. For example, incorporating a returning climate activist into the story, but these moments feel a bit forced. Although the enticing running time of just eighty-one minutes invites you to goodbye unknown Between the terraces, Rookus should have taken more time to give these social issues more teeth.
goodbye unknown therefore, it has become a joyful friend to all. A film with a nod to an Amsterdam where everyone seems to walk around in pastel tones. It has little to do with it and is sometimes a bit clownish, but that is precisely its charm. “Life is not cake,” said Paul. I wish we all had such profound insights in just twenty-four hours.