A film so indie that writer-director Marcus Markou had to self-distribute it in his native England, Papadopoulos and Sons nevertheless has all the the family-friendly charm Hollywood strives for but seldom achieves. The story is nothing new: wealthy entrepreneur Harry Papadopoulos (Stephen Dillane) overextends himself to build a massive real estate development and loses everything — almost — in a sudden economic crisis that looks an awful lot like 2008. The only thing that survives the creditors’ onslaught is the long-abandoned fish and chips shop he and his wayward and free-spirited brother Spiros (French actor Georges Corraface) ran together when they were young. Can a family reunion and a return to happier times be far behind?
The film’s low-key but recognizable depiction of corporate greed makes its predictability much easier to swallow, rendering a too-familiar story surprisingly fresh. Though it possesses the warm, burnished look of a full-scale Hollywood production, the film’s low-budget origins sometimes peek through, especially in an awkward and cheap-looking photomontage that seems included mainly to save on film stock. But no matter — by that time, Papadopoulos and Sons has already established itself as a great restorative for anyone having a bad day. The movie’s central theme says that it’s never too late to figure out what’s really important in life. Sometimes simple truths manage to overcome cliché, and even bear repeating.
Papadopoulos and Sons begins a one-week run tonight at Zeitgeist Movies. More info here.