Directed by Benoît Delépine, starring Benoît Delépine, Gustave de Kevern and Isabelle Delépine. Opens 31 December.
This Belgian/Franco attempt at comedy is probably as close to an unwatchable movie as has ever been made.
It follows two newly wheelchair-bound enemies, who must join forces to make a trip from France to Finland. Whilst asleep they are robbed of their wallets and passports and thus they must hit the road and hitchhike their way to Scandinavia.
What follows does for comedy what Christmas does for turkeys. The characters are not bad though, and under different circumstances (a decent script, for instance), they could be quite interesting. However, you can literally count the number of funny incidents in this supposed comedy on one-and-a-half hands. Another irritating feature is the editing. Sometimes the camera is left still on shots where little or nothing is happening (or where it takes an age for something to happen). Invariably, when something does materialise, it is far from worth the wait.
Admittedly, it gets a little more bearable after you pass the hour mark, but whether most viewers would make it that far is very much open to question. 'Aaltra' has been labelled a black comedy but, while it certainly has its dark moments (indeed it is shot in an annoyingly grainy black and white), even a moderate amount of laughs is noticeably absent. One of the strangest aspects of this snooze-fest is that the BBC was one of the parties behind it.
To be fair, 'Aaltra' was more than likely made on a shoestring budget, but to be even fairer, that's still no excuse for the dreadfulness of it all. That said, there is probably one person in every audience who will thoroughly enjoy it, but then there's always one isn't there? For the rest of us it's either grin and bear it time, or a chance to catch up on some lost sleep.