Main cast: Vasilis Magouliotis (Victoras) and Anton Weil (Mathias)
Director: Stelios Kammitsis
The Man with the Answers is the perfect escapist movie. Everything about it is surreal and beautiful, from the cast to the scenery, and reality rarely intrudes into the fantasy presented here.
This is apparent from Victorias himself. He is a former Greek diving champ, which means he prances around a bit in only tight black briefs while the camera lingers on closely to every inch of that beautiful body of his. Sure, he’d sigh at his reflection because he can see perhaps half an inch of fat around his waist these days, but honestly, if that were to be considered a physical flaw, then I’d take that flaw, thanks. He cares for his grandmother, but she conveniently dies quickly so that our hero will have absolutely zero responsibilities left to hold him back.
Seriously, this guy only seems to work in order to posture beautifully for the camera. He has no money issues—despite spending most of his days cycling on the streets like he’s in a photoshoot and jumping on a giant trampoline that comes from who knows where, he can still live in a gorgeous house full of vintage-looking furniture, gorgeously filled bookshelves, and more. Alright, whom do I have to sacrifice chickens or whatever to have such a charmed life?
Anyway, his grandmother dies, so our hero then goes on a road trip across Europe, or rather, from Bari (our hero is Greek) to Bavaria, Germany, to meet his estranged mother. Along the way, he gives German bloke Anton Weil a ride, and there we go. Lots of brooding and posturing in some of the most lovely scenery ever captured on film, with the occasional “Oh, I am taking off my shirt now because I feel like it, and I’m ready for the hot body close-up now, Mr DeMille!” shots, and we can’t forget the obligatory “let’s swim in some lovely lake” scene too. The two actors probably signed a no-nudity clause, or maybe the people behind the film can’t afford the nudity booty after spending so much money on getting the perfect scenery shots, but at any rate, they get down to tight undies and that’s about it for the pee-pee rated moments.
Yes, they eventually share a bed, but the chemistry and the romance between these two are pretty muted in a way, which is my greatest disappointment when it comes to this self-touted romantic road trip drama. Where’s the romance? Like most of everything else about this movie, the romance isn’t one as much as it is a montage of two gorgeous men posing and posturing for the best artistic shot for the camera. Also, if I’m being honest here, Anton Weil isn’t that hot. Vasilis Mangouliotis, however… damn, if they grew guys like this on trees in Greece, I’m heading over there with a big harvest basket right away. He has the perfect brooding handsome pout down pat, and that facial structure of his is just too gorgeous for words. Oh, and those cakes of his are pretty ample as well, I have to say. I sincerely hope they didn’t pad the rear end of his black briefs, or else I’d have lost all faith in humanity.
There are no answers or resolutions in The Man with the Answers, because remember, artistic films can’t have any obvious closures. I personally think the romance is doomed the moment these two men have to resume their normal lives, though, as they know nothing of one another during the trip aside from small, superficial things that rarely matter in the long term.
Then again, who am I kidding? This movie doesn’t even pretend to be real. There is nothing here that resembles real life—no accountability, no financial issues, no terrible dead-end jobs, no obligations, nothing. Just this marvelous limitless ability to stay young and beautiful, to go wherever and do whatever in a perfect, beautiful world. Because the relationship between the two men is so superficial, however, I also end up feeling a bit sad for these characters. All that perfection and freedom to do whatever they want, however desirable these things may be, end up feeling rather… shallow somehow.
Hence, I don’t get any emotional fulfillment from watching this thing. Oh, my eyes really like what I see here, and I certainly have fun with the escapism afforded by this movie. So much freedom, so much open space, and no need to wear a blasted mask or practice social distancing—this movie is really the perfect escape. If they had actually dialed up the romance, have the main characters display even a little believable human emotion aside from “I’m brooding handsomely for my close-up now” mode, The Man with the Answers would be what I would be living for. As it is, it’s a pretty film with two gorgeous male leads, but I wish it had been a little bit more than that.