Bobby Marno, Matt Akerfeldt
Hope lives for adventure, whether she's on the side of a mountain or swimming freely in the dark blue vastness of the sea. Her next adventure puts her up against the cliffs of Kraken point - a climb that will be her personal best if conquered. After a bad misfortune during her ascent leaves her partially immobile, the adventure quickly becomes a desperate journey for survival. "HOPE" is directed by Bobby Marno, starring Sadhbh Larkin Coyle and is based on a true story penned by Bobby Marno and Matthew Akerfeldt.
World travelers and adventuresome V-Loggers such as Hope Hudson on social media are always exciting to witness. That feeling of invigoration - being able to step out of the day-to-day wheel of responsibilities that tie us down and truly live on the front lines of the human experience. We each question our own capacity to live our best life when observing such individuals - whether we admit it or not. But it's no great mystery as to how one gets started or learns to live in the fast lane; as Hope explains early, "I have to work to save a lot of money to go on these adventures" - of course, the dream would be to do this full time and evade the soul-destroying responsibility of a day job that doesn't resonate with her spirit. It's in touching upon these notes in the opening scenes that I was quickly drawn to 'HOPE.' The setup is quite good; the moment it shifted gears into a survival story, I gradually started tuning out.
... And yet, it's such a good-looking movie. Some beautiful locations are on display, and Coyle turns in a strong, energetic performance, but even that can't keep this from crumbling into itself. It's always doing a little too much - over-explaining and reaffirming its intended deeper meanings. Even when Hope isn't recording herself for her Vlog followers, she's still speaking out loud, telling us (the viewer) everything that she is thinking. It's a tricky cliché to avoid in a one-person setting, but it can't always be excused. This is also enhanced by a heavy-handed use of a score that kicks in every single time there is a question to ponder or an emotion to be expressed. It's like it is telling you what to feel. There were many moments I wished they would trust in the performance and understand that every emotional beat needn't be synched up with a matching score. It's not that the music is bad; it's just overused.
I was sold on Hope as a strong-minded, capable individual from the get-go; therefore, I wasn't doubtful of her ability to overcome and survive the ordeal. This is played upon in the final act, which feels sudden and offbeat. Great energetic performance, with great locations and a couple of interesting experimental shots (they don't all land, but props for the effort. "Hope" earns itself a solid two and a half stars from me. Well done.