An odd Spanish-language feature that fails to come together, Boi has ideas, just not too many worth having.
In this bizarre Spanish film that arrived on Netflix today, writer-director Jorge M. Fontana concerns himself with imagination. And, if we’re being frank, absurdity. Boi, a weird genre mish-mash and also the name of Bernat Quintana’s overburdened protagonist, doesn’t hold together particularly well, straining under the weight of oddness and excess. There’s a laugh here and there, and a mystery or two, but neither the journey nor the destination seem worth it.
Some of what happens here is intentionally confounding. There’s probably a point to it all, but it’s nestled so far within the film’s machinery that parsing it is an exercise in futility. The unfortunately-named Boi is an aspiring novelist and current chauffeur, nursing obsessions for both his pregnant girlfriend (Miranda Gas) and the rejection of his novel by publishers. While dwelling on his various anxieties, his first clients are Michael (Andrew Lua) and Gordon (Adrian Pang), two enigmatic Asian businessmen.
What follows from that initial airport pickup is, like most things, better left unexplained. There are strange deviations and odd clues and moments when reality seems to fracture and distort. As our guide through it all, Quintana is likable and endearing as Boi, a young man attempting to plate-spin his responsibilities even before being embroiled in his own imaginings. The Spanish-language film occasionally feels slightly hostile to an English-speaking audience forced to intuit a fair helping of ideas and meaning through subtitles. But the film’s fuzzy patina of absurdity and ambiguity doesn’t help either.
The problem with Boi is that everything that occurs within it seems to happen for its own sake. Its ambition feels like presumption. Fontana is assuming viewers will stick with what he’s doing for long enough to figure out why, but I’m not entirely sure they will. Netflix makes a good home for a film like this; it’ll find its fans there, even if it might not have earned them.