Sep 20, 2022
Aleksa Stefan Radunovic
Aleksa Stefan Radunovic
Savo Scepanovic, Milica Scepanovic, Tatijana Marinovic
Lazy Guy by writer/director Aleksa Stefan Radunovic takes us to the streets of Podgorica in Montenegro where, like most of the rest of the world, the cost of living is making things extremely difficult for a lot of people. Prices keep going up but jobs are becoming increasingly more difficult to find and people are being pushed into ever more extreme circumstances.
Here we follow Milos (Savo Scepanovic), who is our eponymous Lazy Guy, labelled such by his estranged wife Jelena (Milica Scepanovic) and her family who just see him as a good-for-nothing layabout who only likes to drink and smoke with his friends instead of being a responsible adult with a proper job and prospects for his future. At a meeting with the social worker, who supervises parental visits between Milos, Jelena and their young son Sasa, Jelena tells him that he won't be allowed to see his son anymore because he hasn't been keeping up with child support payments, due to him being a lazy bum who doesn't have a job. Finally, this pushes Milos to get up off his mother's sofa and start looking for a way to make his own money.
However, things aren't as easy as all that for Milos as at every turn he is pipped to the post by tens, dozens or scores of other people who are in the same position as him. Even the job that Milos is most qualified for and for which he interviews brilliantly, is handed to someone else, because as usual it's not what you know, it's who you know that counts. Things tend to go from bad to worse as Milos tries to get a foothold in the job market and the way Jelena keeps badgering him for money as well as other things, while constantly telling him how useless he is, really isn't helping either. Milos just can't seem to get a break.
Radunovic paints a pretty bleak picture with this film while trying to get to the heart of just what makes a 'Lazy Guy' in modern day Montenegro. It's not just Milos who's suffering and it's not just the lack of work that's the problem. Issues relating to smoking, drinking, gambling, ill health and a blame culture all rear their ugly heads and what is striking is that throughout not a single mention is made about state sponsored help.
There is a small smattering of Krzysztof Kieslowski that can be determined from the direction and cinematography here, with most things seeming bleak and grey in the concrete jungle of Podgorica. Dekalog (1988) comes most to mind with a window into the soul of people trying to eke out a living in desperate circumstances, but really what Lazy Guy is most reminiscent of is a Montenegrin I, Daniel Blake (2016) – taking a pointed view of one man's struggle to stay afloat on a tide of national indifference.
Most things work well in the film with the images and sound being captured and put together really well. The story builds at a good rate and everything seems believable in a world that most of us will have never seen before but which feels familiar nonetheless. The main actors all do a fantastic job, although some of the bit parts seem to have gone to amateurs, and a couple of unresolved threads such as Milos' father and the turnaround in the relationship with Jelena, detract a little from the overall feel of the film but not enough to limit the viewer's enjoyment.
Lazy Guy is a well made film which strikes a good balance between hope and despair and which displays all the ugly glory of finding a foundation from which to build. Well worth eighty minutes of your time.