- 1 hr 40 min
Abel is a 1986 Dutch movie directed by and starring Alex van Warmerdam. The film revolves around Abel, a 31-year-old man who struggles with maturity and independence. Abel is a socially awkward man who seems to possess some kind of developmental disorder, as he displays difficulty in communicating and performing basic daily tasks. He is married and has a son, but his relationship with his wife is not stable, and his inability to keep a job leads to her decision to leave him. The movie starts with Abel leaving an institution where he has spent most of his life, and returning to his family. His father, played by Henri Garcin, tries to integrate him back into society, offering him a job in the family business, a factory that produces rubber ducks. Abel's father sees Abel's return as an opportunity to make up for lost time, to finally bond with his son, and to teach him what it means to be a man. Abel struggles to adapt to a society that he finds foreign, as he has been isolated from it for most of his life. He finds it difficult to adapt to his father's expectations and feels overwhelmed by the demands placed on him. His father is an authoritarian figure, attempting to control Abel at every turn, and this only makes things worse. Abel's father's attempts to mold him into a successful businessman do not go well, and his clumsiness and awkwardness cause hilarity and embarrassment in equal measure. One of the most engaging aspects of the movie is Abel's mysteriousness. He does not communicate very well, and his muteness means the film relies heavily on the actor's physical expression. We get to see his frustration and confusion through his expressions and body language. This creates a sense of empathy with the character and leads to a feeling of identification with him. We see in Abel an innocent who is just trying to make his way in life, despite the inherent difficulties of his situation. The film is superbly shot and utilizes an unconventional style that takes some time to adjust to, but is ultimately very successful. The movie relies heavily on visual image, and the use of lighting is very effective in conveying the feeling of the scenes. The lighting is often harsh and black and white, emphasizing the starkness of the film's themes. Another interesting aspect of the movie is its minimalist script. Abel's words are few and far between, and there is never any real exposition or explanation of what is happening. The movie is a visual experience, and it relies on the audience to interpret the scenes and draw their conclusions. This style of storytelling is challenging, but ultimately very effective in creating an immersive experience. Abel's relationship with his wife is also dealt with in the movie. Their relationship is strained, and Abel's inability to communicate with her only exacerbates the problem. The relationship exploration is a secondary theme, but the way it is presented is still thought-provoking, and the audience is left to ponder the challenges of communication and the importance of intimacy in relationships. In conclusion, Abel is a movie that sets out to tell a story that breaks from the standard Hollywood formula. It is a visual experience that asks its viewers to interpret its scenes and come to their conclusions. This unconventional style of storytelling, coupled with the strong performance of Alex van Warmerdam, creates a movie that is thought-provoking and engaging. Although the themes of the movie may take some time to appreciate fully, it is undoubtedly a film that rewards the viewer who is willing to invest the time and effort to understand it.