Relationships require work from both sides, if one doesn’t put in the time or effort the whole thing can come crashing down. And to depict one on the big screen, work needs to be put in or else it will feel unrealistic and make for a disastrous experience for your audience. Written and directed by Shaun Kostas, his first feature length film, The Republic of Two struggles to create something honest out of a situation many can relate to.
What started off as a promising romantic dramedy, slowly diminished into a nightmare. Tim (Brent Bailey) and Caroline (Janet Montgomery – who could pass as a Ashley Greene stunt double) have recently inherited a new apartment. The previous renter recently split up with his girlfriend after a nasty fight. Tim takes this as a sign and asks Caroline to live with him in this new place. While Caroline is having a difficult time finding herself in Los Angeles, Tim sees this as an opportunity in the right direction for their relationship as he’s about to apply to med school. As most people in a romantic partnership tend to find out, being together and living together are two different beasts, which is what our dynamic duo find out for themselves.
Bailey and Montgomery have decent chemistry together. It’s cute when they call each other pet names while the excitement of moving in together is hyped by the playful electric-synth beats of the score. However, this all quickly changes as their lives begin to clash. This once budding relationship takes a turn for the worse, and so does the film.
The build up to the melodrama is fairly believable and fun. Nothing feels out of the ordinary or contrived. But once the relationship takes a turn for the worse, it’s almost as if Kostas forgot to have someone look over the second half of his script. Bailey and Montgomery really sell the realism of their relationship up to a certain point, but as their characters become distant from one another the cracks in the dialogue and the character motivations begin to show. Everything Tim and Caroline feels completely incoherent and unreasonable based on how their characters were built up at the beginning.
These missteps completely ruin the enjoyment of the movie. Take This Waltz and Blue Valentine at least make romantic squabbling appear to come from an honest place. The Republic of Two dissolves into a scatterbrained disappointment, sadly after the first half shows so much promise. You can’t take either characters’ side because they both become so unlikable in the end that absolutely nothing is gained when the credits roll. And what really adds fuel onto the fire is the horribly frustrating ending. It’s completely irrational.
There is absolutely no diplomacy between Tim and Caroline that presents a realistic depiction of a deteriorating relationship. The Republic of Two is hindered by weak character development and poor direction. There is no real vision after the couple discover their budding differences and the whole movie unravels before your eyes.Grade: D+
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The Republic of Two was written and directed by Shaun Kosta, with a run time of 97 minutes. The film has not been rated.