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Incarnation (2016)


A man wakes up on a bench without any idea who or where he is until he is shot by four masked assassins. The man wakes up on the same bench thinking his death was a dream until the assassins re-appear and kill him again. Stuck in a hellish loop, he tries to unravel the mystery and with each death he gets closer to the truth.


On paper 2016's Incarnation reads as if it was looking closely through the lens towards Happy Death Day. It couldn't be further from the truth, though. Serbian movie Incarnation is a smart, fast paced thriller with little to no dialogue - apart from internal monologue from star, Stojan Djordjevic. He awakens on a bench in the middle of a city, disoriented, and without memory, and is hastily gunned down by four men.

Cue reincarnation, and the cycle begins again.

Without spoilers, it's hard to go farther into the plot, which unravels with a good pace over the relatively short run time.

With any film that plays to the Groundhog Day style of rinse and repeat, the challenge is to remain interesting, while also keeping consistency. I don't want to watch the same thing over and over again, but also my interest is lost when I can say that something has changed between timelines. Writer and Director Filip Kovacevic does an outstanding job of holding the story together, keeping it interesting, and where there is repetition, using style and confident camera work to keep it fresh. Bravo.

The star, Stojan Djordjevic (For King and Homeland) has pretty much the only face on screen for the majority of the film. His four masked assassins are largely mute, and have no facial expressions. It's a tough call for such an inexperienced actor to carry such a role. Djordjevic does a stellar job.

It's a great take, and works well.

To it's advantage, because of the narrative, the story is well told with little dialogue. At several points during the film I considered re-watching it with no sound. Yes, it's that intriguing. And as an added bonus, if you're not used to subtitles, or have a disdain for them, the film is easily accessible.

One thing that I have to praise over most else though is the thoroughly believable and well executed scenes of violence. This is no Hollywood actioner where our hero can glance a bullet off a street sign and get a head shot. There's restraint on muzzle flair. When someone gets shot, you feel it.

All round one not to be missed, and I for one look forward to seeing it again.  

It's available on DVD in the UK today:

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