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Tribeca 2018 Review: “Jonathan” (2018) ★★★★


The concept of being a twin, whether identical or not, has not been explored much in the cinematic world. In fact, it seems no one really knows how the mind of twin siblings operates in order to come up with a decent storyline. What has been captured in “Jonathan”, co-written by Gregory Davis, Peter Nickowitz and Bill Oliver and directed by Bill Oliver is extraordinary, brave and raw. I personally was interested in it as I’ve an identical twin and you feel the pain, the struggle of two brothers where one must make a sacrifice. If you are a twin as well,you will appreciate the entire crew’s effort in bringing such a compelling story.

“Jonathan” follows the title character Jonathan who every day has his daily uninterrupted and even undisrupted routine where he keeps recording the same video every day starting early morning and watches the new one as soon as he arrives home. Everything changes all of a sudden when he stops receiving videos which makes him nervous and anxious. But the greatest mystery is something he will have to discover within himself, whether if he is the cause to that disruption and how to fix it. His personal doctor, Dr. Mina Nariman (Patricia Clarkson), who monitors their condition will also be stunned by the newly discovered results that will leave her helpless as well.

As soon as the story unfolds, a very strange and intriguing detail appears that changes the entire film upside down. It appears that Jonathan, aka John (Ansel Elgort), has two persons living in one body where Jonathan takes the shift from 7 AM to 7 PM, while John takes the night shift from 7 PM till 7 AM. Both men, rather one, follows strict rules that must be followed and among them is not to have a girlfriend. And when Jonathan learns about John’s night adventure with Elena (Suki Waterhouse), the young man demands this to be stopped. But when his demand was fulfilled, he realizes that he might have made the biggest mistake in his life that can no longer be fixed.

In conclusion, “Jonathan” is a very disturbing, profoundly deep and very concerning subject matter; honestly speaking, it was quite terrifying to follow too. Revolving more around the character and build up of atmosphere, Bill Oliver’s directorial approach was the right one to take the viewer to the darkest road of Jonathan/John from where there is no turning back under any circumstance. Intriguing subject matter, fresh and unlike any other you’ve seen before, “Jonathan” is an exceptionally intelligent film that will make you think about it long after it’s over. But more importantly, it’s Ansel Elgort whose mature performances deliver two different characters with such depth I could not have been more proud of him.

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