Liverpool is one of those films that is made up almost exclusively of bleak silent shots. Dotted by several long, static scenes the story of the film is not so much the narrative, but the landscape of Tierra del Fuego.
The ‘story’ is one of the standard ‘man returns home’. After many years at sea a sailor on a container ship takes shore leave to visit his family. Ostensibly, he wants to find out if his mother is still alive. Well, she is, but is bedridden and has no idea who he is. The long silent shot of the sailor (Juan Fernández’ Farrel) packing to leave the ship is an indicator of many scenes to follow. He packs, looks around, opens drawers, looks around goes to the door, looks back and finally leaves. All too familiar to those of us who pack and leave a place for whatever reason.
Why the film was named Liverpool, is anyone’s guess. But here’s mine. Liverpool was once one of the world’s major ports. These days, Liverpool is only the seventh largest in the UK, and no UK port is in the top 50. My how times have changed. There’s a connection (murky) between the fall of importance of Liverpool, and the meaning of one sailor’s life. Director and co-writer Lisandro Alonso has given this film a minimalist treatment. Many filmgoers will want more, so you must look elsewhere if that’s your thing.