Netflix’s ‘Boi’ is a drama about a chauffeur that stalls out

Boi, a drama from Spain that comes to the U.S. via Netflix, is a lethargic movie. It follows Boi (Bernat Quintana) through his first few days at his new job as a chauffeur. Boi’s work is fairly benign, which is also an apt description of the film itself. He picks up two businessmen from Asia, Gordon and Michael (Adrian Pang and Andrew Lua, respectively), and carts them around Barcelona. There are meetings, casual conversations, and roads. And my God, is there a lot of driving. Not the kind of driving that’s interesting, like in an Abbas Kiorastami film or Fast and the Furious joint. Boi is full of aimless meandering.

There are bright spots here and there, but it feels like Boi, and Boi, takes the scenic route for a relatively short journey.

Boi

 
RELEASE DATE: 7/26/2019
DIRECTOR: Jorge M. Fontana
STREAMING: Netflix
A man at a personal crossroads starts a new job as a chauffeur.

As the film kicks off, you get the sense that Boi is in for a wild first day on the new job. Gordon and Michael give off some questionable vibes early on, and there are a few bursts of action, but Boi is more interested in the personal journey that Boi is taking instead of the literal one. Boi is an aspiring writer and a father-to-be, but he’s doing his best to banjax those roles. So while he waits by himself in the car while Gordon and Michael conduct their business, Boi does a lot of thinking. Quintana’s performance isn’t strong enough to make us by into Boi’s problems or invest in his redemption. So we’re left watching a blank-faced guy with a teenagers’ haircut drive around. It gets old in a hurry.

Writer-director Jorge M. Fontana’s story feels like it comes from a personal place, but the storytelling his cold and distant. There is little, on the page or on-screen, that draws us to Boi. He’s not suffering from arrested development as much as he has put himself in a situation he isn’t emotionally equipped to handle. As the story sputters and lurches forward, I found myself wishing for Boi to grow up already so the movie can wrap up.

I don’t know what to do with a movie like Boi. I don’t think it’s a bad movie, but it’s not good either. It reminded me of the Tom Hardy vehicle (pardon the pun), Locke. That’s another film about a man doing a lot of simultaneous soul-searching and driving. Locke features superior acting, writing, and directing, so you really should watch that instead. Boi is a movie of modest ambitions and fleeting discipline. The movie wants to be a ponderous journey about self-discovery, but it’s actually a movie that philosophically stalls out and goes on too many fruitless detours.

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Eddie Strait

Eddie Strait

Eddie Strait is a member of the Austin Film Critic Association. His reviews focus primarily on streaming entertainment, with an emphasis on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and other on-demand services.