Movie Review: ‘The Man with the Answers’

John Thomas

This isn’t his first visit to his grandmother, but it is his last. Victoras (Vasillis Magouliotis) is standing at the door to his grandmother’s hospital room to find her bed empty. With great sadness he leaves the flowers he has brought and heads out the door into the bright Greek sunlight.

He needs to call his estranged mother. She is sorry for the passing of her own mother but won’t be able to leave Bavaria to help Victoras with funeral arrangements. She’s celebrating her young son’s birthday with a party she’d already planned. Her new family in Germany is apparently more important to her than the one she left behind in Greece six years ago. Victoras makes the necessary arrangements and quits his job.

Dusting off the Audi his mother left behind, he loads his things in the trunk and heads for the ferry terminal and the boat that will take him to Italy and farther north. Sitting in the snack bar, he notices a fellow passenger steal a sandwich from the buffet. Later, on deck, the stranger introduces himself and offers Victoras part of the sandwich.

“I’m Matthias (Anton Weil), returning to my ski instructor job in Switzerland after my summer holiday in Greece. Where are you headed, do you have a car?” Victoras replies it’s none of his business, he is just headed north and no, he doesn’t have a car nor want part of his stolen sandwich.

Disembarking in Bari, Victoras sits at the wheel of his car studying a map when Matthias taps on his window, “You said you didn’t have a car, but I saw you yesterday in the garage.” Victoras mumbles something about wanting to be alone and drives off. He reconsiders, backs up and offers to let Matthias ride with him if he is willing to share the cost of gas.

Driving through a beautiful sun dappled forest, Matthias asks to stop so he can pee. Moments later, Matthias dives into a secluded lake. “You didn’t say you were going swimming, you lied to me,” says the cranky Victoras. “If I told you I wanted to go swimming, you wouldn’t have stopped,” is his reply. “Come in and join me – do you know how to swim?”

Victoras executes a perfect double summersault dive into the water. Beginning to trust Matthias a little, he explains that he is a Greek ex-diving champion. The reason for his trip north is to confront/visit his mother who left Greece years ago to start a new life in Germany. She has a new family and young son, a half brother to Victoras.

After receiving a speeding ticket – almost unheard of in Italy – and also driving without a license, Victoras lets Matthias take over driving and begins to enjoy the fantastically beautiful scenery they are passing through. While Victoras is pumping gas, Matthias goes into the convenience store to pay for it and emerges with a bag of crisps.

Did you pay for them he is asked. “No,” he replies. Victoras snatches the bag and throws it out the window. After a long day of driving through twisty, snaking mountainous roads, they check into a hotel and flop onto the bed, back to back, and fall fast asleep – or at least one of them does. The next morning Victoras finds the other half of the bed empty. He quickly dresses and dashes into to the parking lot to find his car is missing.

Directed by Stelios Dammitsis (Credits: Downhill, Jerks) The Man with the Answers runs 80 Minutes and is a “see” production for beautiful scenery and a curious plot.


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