The fantasy fable Ron Hopper’s Misfortune starts off slowly and never picks up. While writer-director Jaime Falero’s stunningly beautiful film has an intriguing and creative foundation, it moves at such a glacial pace that it’s a chore to remain awake and engaged in the story.
Journalist Sarah (Alyssa Lozovskaya) arrives at a seemingly abandoned auto mechanic’s garage, whereupon she begins a conversation with, well, herself. However, soon, a disembodied voice that appears to be coming from a vacant car responds. For a second, I thought Ron Hopper’s Misfortune was going to veer into Christine territory.
But alas, the voice has a body, and that body belongs to a mysterious man (Vinnie Jones), later to be known as Ron Hopper. He is a study in extremes, musing on topics such as life versus death, beginnings versus endings, and pleasure versus pain. He speaks in idioms like “We’re born alone, and we die alone” and “words cannot describe how much death loves life.” Sarah responds to his hogwash with equally evasive piffle, such as when Ron asks her, “Are you afraid?” She replies, “Yeah, but I like it.” These two are made for each other!
Pretty soon, it becomes evident that Ron Hopper is not of the earthbound realm and has designs for Sarah of a fantastical nature (there’s even a unicorn at one point!). But Narnia, this is not, and by the time all of the pieces fall into place regarding his intentions for her, the audience is likely to have lost interest or fallen asleep.
“…the voice has a body, and that body belongs to a mysterious man, later to be known as Ron Hopper.”
It’s a shame, too, because Falero has a wonderful eye for composition, color, and production design: it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that he has a background in painting or design. Ron Hopper’s Misfortune is awash in deep reds, theatrical set pieces, and nifty camera angles. The filmmaker employs lots of slow-motion that in a movie not already so languorously paced would stand out as artistic. Towards the end, there is an eye-catching black and white sequence that even more clearly enunciates the director’s sense of style.
What’s more, Vinnie Jones has a fantastic face for the obscure Ron Hopper. The lines on his face hide Hopper’s untold life experiences and hold secrets that only add to the character’s enigma. As for Alyssa Lozovskaya, the camera loves her delicate and pristine features, and her acting is fine. Still, her Russian accent absolutely proves problematic at certain points when it is, quite simply, difficult to understand her.
Falero’s picture brings up a lot of ideas about love and life and death. However, as written and directed, it doesn’t make for a very watchable or dynamic feature. The introduction late in the film of an additional character only proves extraneous.
Ron Hopper’s Misfortune is one of those movies with about five different points where it could have ended, each of which would have proved a satisfactory conclusion. But it keeps on going… and going… and going.
"…starts off slowly and never picks up."