“Less is more” – famous quote
Actually there are times when less is simply less. Sadly, Lotus Eaters is one of those times. I’s 78 minute running time might be its strongest attribute, although there are some good things to be found here. That is, f you’re willing to look past the parts that aren’t quite up to snuff.
The title is plucked from Greek mythology and refers to the inhabitants of an island who were constantly in a dazed stupor from the narcotic contained in all of the island’s foodstuffs. They lived their lives in blissful ignorance of the realities of the world. The same can be said of “Alice”, “Charlies”, “Felix” and the remaining members of their “circle” of friends in North London.
“Charlie” (Flynn) is fresh from yet another stint in rehab and he wants to win back the heart of “Alice” (Campbell-Hughes), and yet seems inexorably drawn back to the drugs that have put him into rehab so many times in the past. Alice, now pursuing her newest dream, being an actress, wants to remain friends with Charlie. But you can see she is clearly still smitten and torn between believing that he will stay sober this time, and knowing that the inevitable backslide is coming. “Felix” (Northover) wants Alice for himself and is biding his time, waiting for the right moment to move in and swoop her up.
The rest of their social circle is only there to reinforce the general truths about this group. They live extremely empty existences in terms of contributing to society or accomplishing anything. Except of course for drinking, taking drugs, having sex and generally living the party-lifestyle 24/7/365. To describe them as the height of vapidity is to greatly understate the uselessness of their lives.
There are moments where you want to root for Alice to find happiness and achieve some of her goals, until you see how little effort she’s willing to expend to get where she wants to go. There is really no one else you can root for. But the production values here are so very strong, and the choice to use black and white to heighten the awareness of how empty these lives are works extremely well. The music fits perfectly, the costuming is amazing and how they managed to highlight the luxury and excess of these people’s lives makes this a better film than it seems at first glance.