Bokeh (2017) - Rotten Tomatoes

Bokeh (2017)

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When a flash of light shoots across the sky on their romantic, Iceland vacation, Jenai (Maika Monroe) and Riley (Matt O'Leary) wake up to discover every person on earth has disappeared. Their struggle to survive and to reconcile the mysterious event lead them to reconsider everything they know about themselves and the world.

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Critic Reviews for Bokeh

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (7)

Beautiful and challenging, Bokeh has a pristine look and chilling feel of its own that contributes enormously to the mood and tone of the whole film.

March 29, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Only worthwhile storytellers could take an elevator pitch like this one (the last two people on Earth) and produce long-lasting curiosity about its inherent beauty and horror.

March 24, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

We're stuck for eternity with two perfectly decent people who, it seems, just aren't very interesting company. Not even for each other.

March 24, 2017 | Full Review…

What sets "Bokeh" apart among the "low-key apocalypse" cinematic subgenre is not what happens, but what doesn't happen. It's the unknowing that is their undoing. The result is a subtle but ultimately profound humanist message.

March 23, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

As the story gives way to repetitious sightseeing sequences and melodrama, it proves less than fully satisfying. But there's plenty to admire along the way ...

March 23, 2017 | Full Review…

Unimaginative and unconvincing ...

March 23, 2017 | Rating: C | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Bokeh

I've heard from many people, and there's no real consensus on this, that they found Seinfeld, a show about nothing, to be the greatest television comedy series of all time. I don't like to make statements like that, though I'm probably guilty of them, because that implies that you've seen every comedy series ever made, and not just from your own country. I hate Seinfeld with a passion and I still do. I've given it shot after shot after shot and I've never gotten the appeal. I think it's a terrible show that makes waste of some really talented comedic actors. Jerry Seinfeld was always awful, so I didn't care about him one bit. How does this relate to a film about an American couple, vacationing in Iceland, that find out that they're the only two people left on earth. It relates in that you could say that this film is, essentially, about nothing. And I don't mean that to say that there's no real purpose to the film or its narrative, I find the exact opposite to be true, but nothingness and existentialism are some of the biggest themes the film touches upon. Let's just get this out of the way and there will be SPOILERS (I can put a warning prior to the review on Letterboxd, a little box you click, but not on Flixster), so just look away or something. There's no deus ex machina that involves the earth gaining back its lost population or there's a big revelation that allows Jenai and Riley to, at the very least, go back to the United States. There's absolutely no explanations whatsoever given as to what exactly happened to the world and what led to everyone's disappearance. You shouldn't go in expecting any sort of answers. And I don't think the film ever deluded itself or anybody else for that matter. While the characters themselves have existential thoughts about what this all means, why is it them, is there some sort of divine interference here, is it a test and all sorts of other issues. But they never mislead you into thinking that they would provide answers. Jenia and Riley's discussions are more just musings between two people that, literally, have nary a clue as to what the fuck actually happened. So if people disliked the film because there was no explanation, then they're just people with wrong opinions. It'd be like if I complained about the lack of martial arts fight scenes in Romeo and Juliet. That story wasn't meant to have fight scenes, so I can't complain about it. This story was never told from the point of view of 'we have to figure what went wrong' and therefore not getting answers shouldn't be a drawback. But I digress, I feel the story is more how both Jenia and Riley adjust to their new situation and their surroundings since, basically, Iceland (a country they know nothing about and is completely foreign to them) will now have to act as their home. I thought the film would explore the relationship dynamics between Jenia and Riley and, in a way they do, but it relates more to how each of them adjusts to their current situation. Riley is more open-minded about the whole thing. He's not necessarily positive, but he's acclimating very well to their change in lifestyle, he's just going in the direction the world points him in, as it were. Jenia has a much more emotional reaction to this. She laments her current situation, she loathes the fact that she will never get to go home again, see her house, hold her own belongings, among many other things. She is a person who's struggling to find answers where there are none to be had. That dynamic is a very interesting one, if not necessarily a unique one. I believe Jenia's fate would have been the same either way, regardless of whether it had been when it happened in the movie, or at a later time that we may not have even seen. Jenia's depression, her desire to find someone else and finding the answers to questions that will never be answered (not matter how hard she tries) would have, eventually, gotten the better of her. I sincerely believe that, Jenia's fate was sealed the moment she failed to adjust to her new situation. And I'm not saying that she had to, we all react differently to different situations. I may freak out at something that someone else is completely unfazed by. But her depression, more than her love for Riley, won over and I can't say that I blame her. She's stuck in a hopeless scenario. Riley chose to focus on the positives that this new situation could bring them. It's all just a matter of perspective. The film is beautifully shot and they chose, pretty much, the perfect country to tell this story in. Iceland, a place that I've always loved, has a population of just 330,000 (according to the latest stats). To put that into perspective, there are over 800,000 Icelandic sheep. Yes, there are twice as many sheep as there are people in Iceland. So the isolation there, even in the most populated areas, is something fierce. And that's something I've always loved about it, Iceland is a place where you go to relax and lead a simple, quiet life. Iceland feels like it's in its own bubble removed from the rest of the world. And I think that's the perfect place to tell this type of story. I think the isolation and loneliness is portrayed perfectly here and, as cliche as it sounds, the country itself is a character. I will also say that I thought the acting was excellent from both Maike Monroe and Matt O'Leary. They make a very believable couple, since it feels that, prior to the film's events, Jenai and Riley been together for quite a while. They've got that air about them, there's a familiarity that's established between the two right from the start. And I don't think that that's something that's always easy to capture. I will say that the film's super serious tone kept it back to me. And I know I complained about not judging films for not having elements that weren't even meant to be there in the first place. But, outside of a few scenes, everything feels so solemn and depressing. And it'd almost have to be, right, given everything that's happening. But I just wish the film spent a little more time focusing on the beautiful aspects of Riley and Jenia's relationship. That's just me. I will say that, even though I wasn't really thinking of giving this a positive score, I think that going over the film, its characters and narrative here made me realize that I actually did like it. It's not a film that's gonna be easy to like, particularly if you want your films to move at a quicker pace, but I enjoyed this regardless. I think its strong acting, its beautiful cinematography and its solid storytelling (even if it could have been better) all add up to make this a good movie. I wouldn't exactly give it a glowing recommendation, since it's gonna be a very divisive movie, but I enjoyed it and, really, to me, that's all that matters. I don't need anyone else to like this movie but me.

Jesse Ortega
Jesse Ortega

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