With an appealing and attractive cast and a soundtrack that, at times, seems more relevant than actual plotting--"Unmade Beds" is one of those films that I suspect people with either love or loathe. Chronicling wayward youths on the streets of London, "Unmade Beds" unleashes its young protagonists in the quintessential struggle for meaning and connectivity in the modern era. Charting two central characters, each making life more difficult than necessary, the film has a chaotic charm and a likability factor that kept me invested even as the film's ultimate impact is slight at best. Thanks to realistic performances, however, there was enough going on to engage my interest and entertain me throughout.
The film's greatest asset is Fernando Tielve as Axl, a mop-topped ex-pat living exclusively within London's party circuit. Let's put it this way--if you don't like Axl, "Unmade Beds" will collapse under its own somewhat flimsy construction. But Tielve has an easy appeal that didn't alienate me from Axl's rather listless personal struggle. Axl's entire existence is getting completely blotto--to the point that he has no recollections of the night's events. Hooking up in a communal flat with equally free souls, Axl finally makes a bed to call his own. He is also searching for the father that abandoned him and his scenes with the likely culprit provide the most emotional weight within the film. We also follow the even more passive (if that's possible) Vera. I'm not entirely sure where her apathy comes from, but she is content to make life as difficult as possible. Finding a man she likes, she plays this game where they can only meet by happenstance and prearrangement. They never exchange personal information, so it's easy to imagine that they miss a connection and are left wondering what might have been.
The music is terrific. The club scenes and party atmosphere are staged with effective enthusiasm. And there is a sexiness inherent in the easy exploration and adventures of youth. At the end of the picture, Axl and Vera cross paths for a meaningful exchange. It's a nice enough scene, but that's all. It might have been the film's make-it or break-it moment, instead it's pleasant. Still, I liked Tielve and I liked "Unmade Beds." Not a film for everyone, you have to be able to appreciate the meandering pointlessness of youth and manufactured conflict to get much significance or meaning from the film. But as a free-flowing entertainment, I enjoyed spending time with the film. KGHarris, 1/11.