Eightyseven (2014) / Drama
aka Ochentaisiete

MPAA Rated: Not rated, but would be R for brief nudity, sexual content, drug content, and language - all involving teens
Running Time: 87 min.

Cast: Nicolas Andrade, Michael Noher, Andres Alvarez, Francisco Perez, Andres Alvarez, Jessica Barahona, Estefano Bajak, Daniela Roepke, Andres Crepko
Director: Daniel Andrade, Anahi Hoeneisen
Screenplay: Daniel Andrade, Anahi Hoeneisen

Review published January 29, 2015

This Ecuadoran-German-Argentinian production tells the tale of childhood friends Pablo (Noher, And Soon the Darkness) and Andres (Bajak), flashing back to Quito, Ecuador in 1987, when they were best friends, to fifteen years later, when they find themselves reuniting following a rift that has come between them.  To tell you the nature of that rift would likely constitute a spoiler of sorts, given that this movie is an exploration of the events and the times, and how a single event can transform the course of all involved for the rest of their lives.

In 1987, Pablo (Andrade, On the Line) and Andres (Perez, Holiday) would take joy in making themselves a hideout of sorts in an abandoned building, where they could idle away from the prying eyes of parents, playing video games, listening to music, and an assortment of other things teens like to do when they don't have any supervision.  Their friend Juan (Alvarez) decides it is the perfect spot to hide after he runs away from home so that he doesn't have to go to military school, and his life takes a turn when he is joined by Carolina (Barahona, Saudade), forming the first love connection of his life.

Flash forward to adulthood, and Pablo is coming back to Quito after spending time away living in Argentina.  He's set to reunite with his old friend Andres, making idle chatter with the latter man's wife in anticipation.  Questions abound as to what happened to Pablo while he was away, why he couldn't come back until now, and what happened to the others who are still currently living in the ever-changing capital city.

Eightyseven is a well-crafted tale, both a coming-of-age story about young boys, and a coming-to-terms story for grown men who find themselves having to deal with the life they've led ever since. Beautifully shot in analog 35mm film to evoke the feel of the late 1980s, the film by married writer-directors Daniel Andrade and Anahi Hoeneisen (Anytime Soon) is rich with period details, and features very naturalistic performances by a solid cast of actors, both young and old, including the filmmakers' son Nicolas in the prominent role of young Pablo.

Mixing its authenticity with a choice, reggae-undulating rhythm-rock soundtrack by Xavier Muller that craftily recalls scenes played earlier in their lives, Eightyseven is a subtle drama about small and beautiful moments of youth that are so fragile that they can be wiped away in the blink of an eye.   Patience has its rewards in this enriching, multi-textured tale.

Qwipster's rating:

2015 Vince Leo