A Gripping Tragedy
Devastating, gripping and heart-wrenching, I Am Jonas is a journey into the underbelly of grief, told through two parallel timelines for our protagonist Jonas. When these two narratives come to a head during the final act, what follows is a conclusion that gives the slow paced narrative up until this point all the more meaning and impact.
The story revolves around our aforementioned protagonist, Jonas. The first timeline sees him in school, struggling to fit in and isolated from the other students. When new kid Nathan arrives, he takes Jonas under his wing and on a whirlwind trip that changes his life forever.
The second timeline takes place with Jonas as a troubled 33 year old, haunted by the ghosts of the past following a traumatic experience that’s shaken him to his foundations in the earlier timeline. The truth of this reveals itself in devastating fashion during the third act but up until that point, much of the film splits between these two timelines, harmoniously bouncing off and complementing one another as more character is revealed in a clever and natural way.
Jonas’ smoking forms a significant part of his childhood but until the midway point of the film this seems like a pretty trivial fact. It’s not until we see the events that led to his first cigarette do we begin to understand how much significance this actually has. This is equally true for Jonas’s obsession in finding love and constantly causing trouble in doing so. It’s this attention to detail that make the picture all the more powerful, and really help elevate this drama beyond a simple tale of tragedy.
Stylistically, the film has a real neo-noir feel to it at times, with a lot of long shots, drawn out scenes and neon visuals in the present timeline. This counter-balances nicely with the more bright and cheery visuals for the past that collide into a more consistent colour palette during the closing act of the film.
Ultimately, I Am Jonas is a tragedy that paints itself as an art house drama. It’s a clever film that hides its true meaning, playing its cards very close to its chest until the third act. The film has a self-aware edge to it that makes for a surprisingly effective drama, and the final emotional blow at the end is incredibly powerful because of this. With strong themes and a strong ending, I Am Jonas is a really well worked film and certainly worth a watch.