Coffee is a veritable “thing” now. More than just a prop used to ridicule the younger generation, it’s also something that gets bandied about to sell deodorant or toothpaste or insurance or whatever. But now coffee is getting the Hollywood treatment. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the new movie Coffee is like Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Oscar-winning Babel, but with… well, you know.
Premiered at last week’s Beijing International Film Festival, Coffee is the sixth feature film from Italian-born director Cristiano Bortone and is a “panoramic snapshot of a globalized world in the grip of cultural and financial turbulence.” The movie follows three stories from different countries that “never formally intersect, but they mirror each other in mood, motif and message.” And are about coffee in some form.
One plot involves an Italian “ninja-level coffee expert” who has to take a “minimum-wage warehouse job, where a motley gang of co-workers tap his inside knowledge to mount a heist” of kopi luwak. The story is ludicrous. I mean, there are actual coffee heists that could be pulled from that would be far more compelling—and not nearly as side-eye inducing–than a super coffee dude being coerced into stealing poop coffee.
But as the plots move away from coffee as their center, they seem far more interesting (at least to a coffee bro who hasn’t seen the movie). In Belgium, an Arab storekeeper’s search a “beloved antique coffee pot” that was stolen leads him “a troubled young man” and his “virulently racist father.” And in the Chinese story line, a coffee corporation’s “handsome hotshot executive” is dispatched to a rural factory, where he struggles with the morality of illegal and dangerous production methods and meets a lovely young artist/eco-coffee farmer.
The Hollywood Reporter describes Coffee as both “heavy-handed” and “a little too fond of fortune-cookie philosophy” but also “a technically polished and good-looking production” featuring “solid performances across the board plus some well-staged, pacy thriller elements in its final act,” which maybe sounds a little bit like a few coffee documentaries?
Honestly, it looks good enough for me to spend the 100 minutes needed to watch it, should I ever find a way of getting my hands on a copy. Be on the lookout for Eric J. Grimm’s official review. Eventually.
Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.
*all media via Cineuropa.org