The Man with the Answers is released through Peccadillo Pictures. Dive into this rich and tender snapshot of unexpected love from June 28th.
Let me start this review by inviting you to think back to the world we inhabited pre-COVID 19. In this world, many of our friendships, lovers and influential acquaintances came from random meetings in public spaces. For example, many of my close friends came from nights out, screenings, and events attended over the years. The first sparks of a lasting friendship or love generated through shared conversation, interests or instant attraction. Ever since COVID 19, these random connections and physical meetings have been stripped away. Our lives becoming home-based, zoom led and internet-driven. Our ability to meet new people, start a new adventure or wander down a new path curtailed by a virus that knows no borders.
This new reality ensures The Man with the Answers carries even more emotional power than it would have pre-COVID. Its story, at times, feeling like a reminiscence of what we have lost during 2020 and 2021. As it takes us on a road trip from Bari to Bavaria alongside two men brought together by fate. However, far from being melancholy, the result is a bright and engaging journey of self-discovery, healing and hope. One that filled me with optimism for the road ahead as we hopefully emerge from the horror of COVID. Here, director Stelios Kammitsis reflects the power of a single spark or action in changing an individual’s destiny. His film a delightful road trip movie full of love, humour, healing and hope.
In a port town on the Greek coast, twenty-something Victor (Vasilis Magouliotis) spends his days reflecting on his past achievements as a diving champion. His past glory lingering in his mind as he longs for something more than the dusty furniture-making factory where he now works. Victor lives with his grandmother, his relationship with his mother distant and cold, following her remarriage. However, when Victor’s frail grandmother dies, his life is brought into sharp focus. His dreams, ideas and relationships a jumble of competing needs. And as he attempts to traverse the deep emotions he keeps locked away and the spiralling cost of a funeral, his need to escape builds.
Dusting off his grandfather’s old car, Victor starts his journey of self-discovery and reconciliation. His home melting into the distance on the overnight ferry as he scans a map of Bavaria, his mother’s new home. However, as Victor looks for peace and silence, his world is invaded by Matthias (Anton Weil), a mysterious and intriguing young German backpacker. Matthias is confident, bullish and adventurous, the exact opposite of Victor, who longs for a quiet trip. But, despite their differences in personality and character, Victor quickly realises Matthias may help navigate the journey ahead, reluctantly allowing Matthias into his world while checking he isn’t a rampaging murderer first.
Victor initially tolerates Matthias as the road trip takes hold, with Matthias attempting to push at Victor’s limited horizons. The conflict between both men growing as the road weaves through the Italian countryside. However, as both men begin to share themselves, their views, hopes and dreams, the barriers between them slowly fall—their journey together one of shared growth, discovery and possible companionship.
Kammitsis builds a tender, quiet and loving movie full of charm and humour as two worlds collide on the road to rebirth and reconciliation. Our characters journey embedded in the power of a single spark or action in shaping one’s future. And while the developing relationship between Victor and Matthias is left hanging as the film comes to an end, one thing is sure; their connection was urgent, essential and life-changing. Their meeting and journey wrapped in the importance of discovery, travel, and freedom in building new worlds. The complexity, love and humour of the relationship Victor and Matthias forge held in the importance of rebirth. And here, both Magouliotis and Weil shine in their touching, real and engaging performances. Both keeping the viewer’s attention locked on the screen, in a movie dependant on the charisma of its lead actors.
The Man with the Answers excels in creating a delicate bubble of belonging for both men. The world outside this bubble fragile as Victor and Matthias find love, companionship and harmony together. And no matter where things may lead, The Man with the Answers proves that the roads we all choose occasionally entwine in creating a new beginning, love and an unexpected but vital connection.