Written and directed by Robert G. Putka, Mister Limbo (2021) is surprisingly emotionally moving at times, with the film being an existential study on life and death filtered through a comedic screen. A handful of characters are given monologues to depict moments of deep introspection and reflection upon their sorry, previously-living selves. These moments are welcome; the dialogue needed to be impactful as there was not a whole lot to look at during the film, with their limbo being a practically barren desert.
Mister Limbo stars frequent Putka collaborator Hugo de Sousa as the titular character, who wakes up in the middle of a desert after presumably surviving his latest sky-dive. He soon runs into Craig (Vig Norris), a man in his pajamas who is also wandering the desert and wondering how he got there. The two decide to try to find help together, and along their walk, they encounter the quirky dwellers of this mysterious desert as they attempt to figure out what is happening with their lives.
The structure of Mister Limbo is reminiscent of adventure movies that are scene after scene of the main character(s) having run-ins with different, typically eccentric characters, however, Mister Limbo is about being in limbo after all, and so it is like a somewhat subdued millennial version of these romps. After the fourth or fifth run-in with a random character of a seemingly never-ending list of eccentric characters, this structure starts to feel repetitive, as for far too long there is no goal or motivation established for the characters beyond walking through a desert and meeting weird people.
Clarification is, in my opinion, erroneously held until after the film’s list of eccentric characters is exhausted and the climax finally hits. As a result, the movie meanders in many places, only having momentary blips of spirituality in those aforementioned instances of mystical monologuing. When the film does finally end, it feels as though it peters off into nothing — for a film about characters being in limbo, the finale is just as ambiguous as its setting, devoid of definitive moral revelation or conclusion about life (unless I missed it), causing me to wonder the point of the film beyond showing off sometimes interesting characters.
Mister Limbo is a buddy comedy doused in tragedy, one that could easily be a stage play as it is more of a character-study film with a barebones setting, rather than a cinematic story-driven piece. A small note — as a fan of The 4400, a totally underhyped TV show from the early 2000s, I appreciate Mister Limbo‘s frequent shout-outs to the series, however, the ending of the show is spoiled in this movie, so viewers who want to watch this show may want to watch The 4400 before watching Mister Limbo. I might have enjoyed Mister Limbo more if it had perhaps leaned into either more comedy or more tragedy, but as it stands, it ended up being a wash between these two aspects, much like the film itself.
6 out of 10
This film is part of Fantaspoa, which ran for free on the streaming platform Darkflix, from April 9th through the 18th. All film screenings are geo-blocked to Brazil, with additional details available at www.fantaspoa.com.