Patagonia review by Melissa Orcine - Cinema Paradiso
In writer-director Marc Evans’ film ‘Patagonia’, he tells the stories of people going in and out of where else, Patagonia, a region located in Argentina and Chile. If you didn’t know, in 1865 thousands of Welsh migrated and settled in Patagonia and as such, the film follows characters with Welsh roots.
First, photographer Rhys (Matthew Gravelle) and Gwen (Nia Roberts) who travel to Patagonia for a photo assignment. While there, the couple’s relationship is being tested; should they marry or not even when they can’t conceive? While they traverse the idyllic locations, their local Patagonian tour guide Mateo (Matthew Rhys) has instant chemistry with Gwen. Then we have Cerys (Marta Lubos), an old woman who is longing to return to Wales to rediscover her Welsh ancestry. She tricks his juvenile neighbor Alejandro (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart) to accompany her. When the unlikely pair arrive in Wales, Alejandro meets Sissy (singer Duffy in her first film role), a flighty yet charming woman whom he falls in love with. Such is the quiet and introspective film ‘Patagonia’.
‘Patagonia’ is actually two road trips movie in one. It could have been two different movies entirely, but since it’s been combined it’s subject to comparison. The stronger story is about the eventual love triangle between Matthew Gravelle, Nia Roberts, and Matthew Rhys. Not only do they flesh out the tenderness and intricacies of couple-hood, they also manage to make a travel reel for Patagonia itself. Kudos to cinematographer Robbie Ryan; his lush projections of the pampas and desert (even the waterways of Wales in the other parallel road trip story) are incredibly picturesque. Ryan’s last project was the quaintly-shot film ‘Fish Tank’ directed by Andrea Arnold.
As for the Wales segment of ‘Patagonia’, Marta Lubos and Nahuel Pérez Biscayart try do an endearing version of ‘Harold and Maude’ or Carl and Russell from ‘Up’, but from the moment they reach Wales they lead separate journeys. Lubos is about learning more of her self while Perez Biscayart is young love.
‘Patagonia’ is a lovely film but its running time is too long for saying too little.