The Lawyer – BFI Flare Film Festival 2020 Review

When we fall in love, it is without any confinement. We do not love in terms of gender, country or religion. It is a force that takes us beyond our boundaries and rights brand new stories for us. Love is a powerful thing that unites two people immediately.

None of this is more prevalent than stirring astute film The Lawyer.

Written and directed by Romas Zabaraukus, The Lawyer revolves around the highly successful Marius, who is a lawyer in Vilnius. When he comes across handsome Syrian refugee named Ali in an online chatroom, he is becomes obsessed with. Marius, himself, lives a rich vibrant life in Lithuania whilst Ali lives differently in Belgrade. A sudden touch of grief enters Marius’ life and soon the pair conduct a relationship that crosses class, borders, and sexualities.

The film aims to look at dismantling identities throughout this whilst also keeping mind the political plight of LGBT refugees everywhere. The stirring piece pulls two very different people together.

Yet, thanks to the acting of Eimutis Kvosciauskas and Dogac Yildiz, there is very believable chemistry and kinship here that pulls you into the centric storyline. Kvolsciauskas as Marius is a particular highpoint: A high-flying corporate lawyer could easily have been an underwritten mess but Kvolsiacuskas and the script balance his nuanced character.


The Lawyer - BFI Flare 2020 Review - One Room With A View

Yildiz is also great and a monologue about his plight in Syria is a heart-wrenching moment for the movie that reminds us that whilst love exists, there are still horrors that follow. Together they are a very human and real couple at rouses on screen.

At a quaint 95 minutes, The Lawyer suffers from not spending enough time on the world around them. While it skims the troubles they both face in their homophobic countries, with Ali also plagued by the horrors of war, there is just an ache to explore more. Also, there is a redundant storyline with Marius other exhibition client Danka who, sadly, is underdeveloped after providing Marius with his development is sadly left alone.

There is also a bizarre turn to black and white with no explanation. You could assume that this was an artist point – that these lovers are locked in bliss that strips the world from them.  The musical cues used as well hamper an otherwise great film.

Overall, however, The Lawyer is a sensitive look at labels and love. Held together by the chemistry of its two leads, the movie is a delicate and earnest approach to relationships across countries and across borders.

The Lawyer screened as part of BFI Flare Film Festival 

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