Many times, there appears to be a disconnect between different classes, societies, and atmospheres. The language and behavior employed in each area (almost) always remain distinct. Here, we become presented with a community full of white houses and wealthy residents in a gated community outside an unattractive Polish city. Emptiness and longing plague the residents until a mysterious masseur named Zhenia (Alec Utgoff) arrives to fulfill their happiness and remedy their pains. Never Gonna Snow Again is an enlightening film, a narrative that offers a hypnotic viewing experience and touches upon our senses (and spirits).
Zhenia, an immigrant from Chernobyl and someone resembling a Christ figure, travels from house to house to relieve his clients of their psychic wounds and illnesses. His fingers relieve the pressure, and upon snapping, the select clients appear in a mystical, darkened forest. Dang, we didn’t realize someone would be challenging the unimaginable power of the Snap in the Avengers films. As Utgoff’s character does this, though, he continues to recall memories of his mother alone in a grim apartment.
The music constantly weaves its way in, with some familiar songs such as the opening incorporating Dmitri Shostakovich’s Suite for Variety Orchestra Waltz 2 (Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut did the same). Or the live performance from The Chorus, to allow us to fall deeper into a trance-like state. It serves as a reminder that sometimes one individual can make a difference in others’ lives, whether from physical, mental, or spiritual interaction.
Directors Malgorzata Szumowska and Michal Englert offer a peaceful experience due to Utgoff’s sensational performance and evocative cinematography. They do not convolute or muck up the adventure into this dream-like world (or nightmare, depending on your definition). They make usage of the dogs, flickering lights, and people’s faces appearing in the windows to contribute to an intensely atmospheric world. Perhaps it is a nod to a country once part of the Communist East and a frantic need to turn away from the past. Utgoff’s innocence (and enigmatic presence) is reminiscent of Johnny Depp’s portrayal of the titular character in Edward Scissorhands (where the loss of innocence and symbolism of difference and change come into play).
It’s an absorbing work, and many are left to figure out Zhenia’s desires and position in the world. Never Gonna Snow Again strikes with an emphatic statement thanks to an exquisite direction and remarkable ambiance.