‘Brando with A Glass Eye’ is a compelling & dark story about human resilience and emotions (Review)

Method acting goes to the extreme in the Greek drama Brando with a Glass Eye. Starring Yiannis Niarros in a star-making performance and written and directed by Antonis Tsonis, this is compelling drama just had its worldwide premiere at the Slamdance International Film Festival.

Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” Filmmaker Bong Joon-ho said the above quote after collecting his Oscar for Parasite. Since then, a lot of movie lovers have started following world cinema. Whether it is French cinema or Korean cinema, people are now more interested in knowing what stories are being told in other parts of the world. We have seen several fascinating stories in recent years, but none has been told the way Brando with a Glass Eye has been. It is one of those movies that might start with a story about someone trying to become an actor, but takes a wild turn as the story progresses.

The story of Brando with a Glass Eye

The movie begins with one of the most unusual yet extraordinary opening scenes. The central character, Luca (Yiannis Niarros), enters with a fake gun in hand and tells the viewers, “This is just an acting exercise.” This scene perfectly sets a foundation for this compelling story. Luca is an ambitious method actor living in Athens. He lives in a house with his brother, Alekos (Kostas Nikouli), who is visibly annoyed with how he approaches acting.

Luca is waiting for a big break, and that big break comes when he receives a call from a renowned theatre company in New York. The company saw his portfolio and wanted to call him for an audition. However, there’s a catch. Luca doesn’t have the resources to fly to New York. So, his brother plans a heist and lures Luca into it. Eventually, Luca realizes that he needs money to go to New York and says yes to the heist.

Yiannis Niarros as Luca in Brando with a Glass Eye.
Yiannis Niarros as Luca in Brando with a Glass Eye.

But the heist fails, and Luca accidentally shoots a person. As a result, Luca starts to experience a lot of characters and embodies different characters, blurring the lines between fiction and reality. In an effort to seek redemption, he befriends the person he shot, Ilias (Alexandros Chrysanthopoulos). It’s an unusual friendship. Initially, their friendship is as thin as a single sheet of paper. However, as the story moves forward, audiences get to know about things that make them somewhat similar.

Luca’s story is unorthodox and compelling

In recent years, independent filmmakers from across the globe have turned out to be the voices of the voiceless. They have managed to stitch storylines that transcend boundaries or stereotypes to give a detailed look at a particular subject. With Brando with a Glass Eye, filmmaker Antonis Tsonis and producer Tia Spanos Tsonis have managed to put together an unorthodox story about a person who wants to be an actor but has forgotten what’s real and fictional. 

The movie is a mixture of different genres and sensibilities. However, it never feels like the film is losing its grip over what it tries to tell the audience. Another aspect that makes Brando with a Glass Eye such a compelling watch is how it explores sensitive subjects such as human resilience and emotions. An artist’s life is filled with many situations that are not easy to explain, and the movie tends to show them very effectively.

The film also focuses on how Luca transitioned from a life filled with misery to one that might give him all the happiness he wants. That particular aspect of the story symbolizes how things drastically transform if you are ambitious. Brando with a Glass Eye is not your usual drama film. It is a unique exploration of life’s complexities and how dreams can be so powerful in achieving some of the biggest things in life. Tsonis continuously provides far-sighted commentary on the challenges people face and their hard-earned victories.

Yiannis Niarros is the soul of Brando with a Glass Eye

Acting-wise, Yiannis Niarros is the soul of this weirdly entertaining yet dark story. The story gives him a perfect platform to showcase his impeccable skills as an actor. If a young actor is trying to make his name in the industry and wants to look at a performance that gives them an idea about the craft, they should watch Yiannis’ brilliant performance in this film. His mannerisms and dedication to the craft make Yiannis’ performance so impactful. It is a star-making performance. On the other hand, supporting cast members such as Kostas NikouliAlexandros ChrysanthopoulosChara Mata Giannatou, Xenia Dania, Maria KallimaniGiannis Tsortekis, and Alkistis Giraud have done phenomenal work in their respective roles.

All in all, Brando with a Glass Eye is an interesting look at a person’s ambitions. The script is well-crafted and has a lot of quirky situations that make the viewing experience even better. Surprisingly, this is Antonis’ first feature film as a director, and he seems to be the new voice of Greek cinema. A voice that doesn’t get scared to take a bold route to tell a story that’s complex. Truly, Brando with a Glass Eye is a magnificent piece of Greek cinema.

Brando with a Glass Eye, a film by Antonis Tsonis.
Brando with a Glass Eye, a film by Antonis Tsonis.


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