Rated: R for language and some sexuality. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: May 22, 2015 Released by: Sony Pictures Classics
A nondescript yet atmospheric (from a visual standpoint) is Claudia Llosa's first English-language feature, the rather flowery, documentary-like Aloft which may connect to a faith-based audience.
Starring Jennifer Connelly (Noah, Blood Diamond, Requiem For A Dream), Cillian Murphy (The Wind That Shakes The Barley, Transcendence) and Melanie Laurent (The Beat My Heart Skips To, Beginners), there's a contemporary (even New Age), though mostly timeless connection to what is a barren, gelid Manitoba Canadian Province. Far from Llosa's earlier efforts in an erotically sweltering Peru with its traditional tenets. The key to enjoying the film is finding a way let the slight blather wash over you and try to feel an intended cathartic assurance. For many, nonetheless, it may be too "incomprehensible" to truly make an impression or even care about.
Part of the mood in the time-shifting narrative has a desperation to it from Connelly's very concerned and determined Nana, mother of Gully and Ivan (acted by off-screen brothers Winta and Zen McGrath). One of them has a irremediable condition that still impels Nana for healing or a specific remedy. Which takes her on a spiritual, ecclesiastic path after the boy's falcon destroys tree branches almost making her a quasi-cult ducat.
The other period, twenty years hence, centers around journalist Jannia Ressmore (a gorgeous Laurent, also of Inglourious Basterds though really a plot machination) inveigling the older, tortured falconer in Ivan (who nearly looks about to cry) to take a deeper, fairly perilous arctic plunge to seek out his alienated, haunting mother.
An abstruse way to connect the physically and emotionally grueling toll in a humanistic, if ethereal way around the unprincipled finally attempts to tie the guilt and redemption around the tricky Nana/Ivan dynamic together in some meaningful, if extended way. But, a non-linear Aloft really clashes too much in spite of affecting work provided notably by Connelly and a latter overwhelmingly surging Murphy that doesn't make it much more than a simmering wild-goose chase in need of requisite cinematic anesthesia to relieve the pain of ambiguity.