Edinburgh has proven itself to be the coveted destination for film locations fairly recently, from T2: Trainspotting to even a tent-pole franchise such as Avengers: Infinity War. Another to make use of the capital too is Dutch comedy Waterboys, which screened at this year’s Edinburgh Film Festival.
The film festival often brings with it a plethora of charming coming-of-age stories and writer/director Robert Jan Westdijk’s latest takes on the guise of an effervescent comedic drama but, really, this is a coming-of-age story at heart. When Victor (Leopold Witte) has to head to Edinburgh to promote his latest crime novel, he takes his 20-year-old son Zack (Tim Linde) with him; both recently single, the trip proves to be quite the one of self-discovery and father-son bonding for the pair as they are forced to confront their situations and actually spend some time confronting one another too.
There is a genuine poignancy and charm to Waterboys, it’s such a sweet and effervescent affair that is carried largely in part by the relationship between Zack and Victor and the equally as compelling performances from Linde and Witte, respectively. There is a nice irony and contrast to their characters - Victor is the more care-free, rambunctious of the pair whereas Zack takes on an edge of maturity and serious pensiveness throughout, crippled by his anxiety and burdened by the memories of a breakup fresh in his mind - that makes their relationship all the more whimsical and fun to watch. Jan Westdijk’s writing here is sharp and witty, with some hilarious comedy flowing throughout, but, most of all, it feels grounded and never reaches the level of contrivance it could have with such flamboyant characters.
However, despite plenty of great humour, Waterboys still maintains a level of heart and depth towards its latter half that brings a much needed edge of emotion to the story and to these characters for what is a beautiful, touching final act that takes place set to the backdrop of a concert of the eponymous Scottish band; speaking of The Waterboys, their music permeates this drama to much lauded and brilliant effect too. Where the film falters is perhaps in its lack of the same care and effort with its other characters that is evident with Zack and Victor. Besides our leading pair, everyone else is as one-dimensional, forgettable and lacklustre as they come.
VERDICT:Waterboys radiates with an effortless effervescent charm, but maintains that necessary edge of depth and heart.
About the Author
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.