Review by Mr. Will Wong
After premieres at both the Tribeca and Los Angeles Film Festivals, JONATHAN is readied for a Home Entertainment release. It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Ansel Elgort after a riveting performance in 2017’s Baby Driver and here we get two of him.
The low-key Sci-Fi-Thriller from first-time Feature Director Bill Oliver has Elgort starring in a complex dual role as both Jonathan and Jon where two individuals, brothers, inhabit one body in what is called “single-body multi-consciousness”. They communicate with one another via video-recorded summaries of their day.
Jonathan is soft-spoken and clean-cut, working in an architecture firm. He inhabits his body in a split arrangement with the unhinged Jon who takes over after 7 PM in the evening. Overseeing the arrangement with monitors attached to their ears is Dr. Mina Nariman (Patricia Clarkson) who is adamant the arrangement could work, provided neither get into any emotional involvement, namely a relationship. Things become problematic with Jon meets Elena (Suki Waterhouse) and while Jonathan insists this must end, Elena at once is very confused by her boyfriend’s change in behaviour during the day. Matters become even more complicated when Jonathan wishes to possess more time in their body, defying the brothers’ arrangement in what could lead to the destruction of the other.
Elgort rises to the challenge, proving effective in both capacities as Jonathan and Jon. He captures how tightly-wound Jonathan is and also Jon‘s looseness such that there always is a clear distinction when he is playing either. When both characters’ worlds collide, he effectively captures their unraveling and what it means for them to fight for the body in which they cohabitate and also the woman they love. Where the Film is challenged is its pacing. It is a bit of a slow-burn which requires your patience as Jonathan’s calm and cool dictates the pacing of the story. Those willing to stay the course, will be rewarded with something unique. We cannot wait to see what’s next for Elgort including Spielberg‘s West Side Story.
Well Go Entertainment USA release JONATHAN Tuesday, January 22, 2019 on Blu-ray.