15 Years ***
Starring: Oded Leopold, Udi Persi, Ruti Asarsai
Director: Yuval Hadadi
Yoav (Leopold) is a successful, wealthy and attractive man in his early forties who has everything that he wants. But when his best friend (Asarsai) announces that she’s pregnant without telling him first, he grows resentful of the baby growing inside her. And with the seed now planted in the mind of his boyfriend of fifteen years (Persi) that they should have a baby too, Yoav begins a cycle of negative behaviour that can only see the destruction of everything he’s created.
The film suffers from being as about as subtle as a concrete car park. Yoav’s reactions are so guttural that he seems more animal than human. There is a deliberate obsession with his masculinity here, which feels like an overcompensation for the character’s sexuality. From shouting at assembled party guests when babies are mentioned to cruising for sex with a nineteen year-old to make him feel younger, this feels like an episode of EastEnders after a character receives bad news and the next shot is them staring into a whiskey glass.
The trio of leads give strong performances, with Usarsai’s enigmatic poise the film’s stand-out, but the script feels heavy-handed when dealing with a topic as delicate as depression. Its opening shot sees Yoav stopped dead in his tracks while running after seeing a hooded figure waiting for him at the end of the street, which is a dream motif we see many times through the movie. The music is laden with foredboding, while much of the film is shot like a noir in which the characters’ truth can only be played out in the dark. There’s symbolism dripping from the screen throughout, but without a more nuanced character, it feels like we’re being beaten by the filmmaker until we say in a loud clear voice “Yes! We know! Yoav is angry!”