DVD Review: Here

Here DVDSTUDIO: Strand Releasing | DIRECTOR: Braden King | CAST: Ben Foster, Lubna Azabal, Aren Vatyan, Peter Coyote
DVD RELEASE DATE: 7/17/2012 | PRICE: DVD $27.99
BONUSES: Gadarine’s photographs
SPECS: NR | 126 min. | Adventure romance | 2.35:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1 | English and Armenian with optional English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall


The landscape of Armenia: cities with contemporary highrises; towns with stone houses built into the side of a hill; herds of sheep blocking the road; natural pools wedged in verdant mountain clefts. And, above all, miles of vistas of those mountains, dotted with ancient churches and monastaries (in the first Christian country), where  birds swirl off modern power lines. It’s this landscape that’s the real star of Braden Ring’s independent adventure/romance/travel doc film 2011 Here.

Here movie scene

Ben Foster and Lubna Azabal get together in Here.

Will (Ben Foster, The Messenger) is an American “ground truther,” a satellite map engineer hired to create a more accurate map of the country. Gadarine (Lubna Azabal, Incendies) is an expatriate still-photographer returning to reconnect with family and old friends. They eye each other from separate tables at a rural hotel and, eventually, these two observers—he of the macrocosm, she of the micro—decide to share a journey across this land where Noah docked his ark.

As Will and Gadarine (an Armenian name meaning ‘from the top of the mountain’) expand their horizons (these metaphors can’t be avoided!), romance develops and the two must decide what if any relationship they will have.

But it’s the locale that rises above it all. Even a jovial drinking scene—an indie staple—when they visit Gadarine’s old friends, gains resonance when set on such an exotic backdrop. A toast in Armenan and its subsequent poor translantion plays as moving and funny.

Experimental video sequences with narration by the ubiquitous Peer Coyote add to the mood and growing unease of a trip into uncharted terrain (both the physical and emotional kind).

Here’s performances are effective. Ben Foster may be charisma-challenged as a man defined by his work facing professional failure, but his American farmboy looks definitely make him an outsider about the dark-haired Armenians. Lubna Azabal is pitch-perfect with her off-center beauty and just the right hint of crazy behind her bright smile. Who wouldn’t want to take a trek into the unknown with her?


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About David

David Leopold is an actor, writer and videographer who would take a Sherpa ride up a Tibetan mountain to see an Edwige Feuillère movie.