Gangster of Love
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Torontoist

Gangster of Love

A Croatian matchmaker takes on a challenging client.

20130425gangsteroflove

DIRECTED BY NEBOJSA SLIJEPCEVIC (Croatia/Germany/Romania, World Showcase)
3stars


SCREENINGS:

Friday, April 26, 4 p.m.
TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)

Sunday, April 28, 9:30 p.m.
Scotiabank Theatre (259 Richmond Street West)

Friday, May 3rd, 9 p.m.
Scotiabank Theatre (259 Richmond Street West)


A spirited—if slightly troubling—take on the dating game, Gangster of Love argues that emotionally stunted man-children aren’t only an American problem. Croatia’s got them too.

Charismatic, even-handed matchmaker Nedjeljko “Nedo” Babic sees coupling as an endeavour that’s ideally both romantic and practical, and he’s not above greasing the wheels with a fib or two to help the process along. His idealism is challenged by his difficulty finding a match for Maya, who already has a young son from a previous, abusive marriage. Even for the potential suitors who have children of their own, the boy proves to be a sticking point.

Writer-director Nebojsa Slijepcevic is more than thorough in cataloguing the odious views of women and relationships that percolate in Croatian society, as well as the failures of individual would-be suitors to get past their hang-ups and compromise in the name of love. Even so, Maya herself could stand for a little more fleshing out, beyond the cursory mentions of her troubled past and her current disappointments. The film functions best not as a character study, but as a tactile, real-world romantic comedy—one whose outcomes aren’t predetermined by hackneyed screenwriting, and whose conclusions aren’t necessarily as rosy as the tireless Nedo himself might like.


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