Written and directed by Matthew Appleby, Adam is stuck. Anxious. Alone. Trapped in a nine to five. Lost without purpose, he meets Eva. As she enters Adam’s life, something changes, and a new reality awakens him. Starring: Qado, Elisa Alemparte, Laine Korn, Matt Consalvo, Jimena Herrero, Brittany Joy and David Vittoria Frank.
In this day and age it’s basically a right of passage for people in their twenties and thirties to at some point feel completely lost. To question what the point is of working a dead end job, doing the same thing everyday, only to get nowhere. Then comes the typical spiral of anxiety, isolation and claustrophobia, which is where you need someone to help break the cycle and that’s what Eva (Elisa Alemparte) does for Adam (Qado). Matthew Appleby creates the kind of story which is about the journey not the destination, it’s a meandering road as Adam tries to figure things out. The way that it progresses is akin to a slow, gradual breakdown, which is extremely relatable.
However, the choices that it makes don’t always feel entirely consistent and cohesive. Firstly the way that it frames Adam’s anxiety is more akin to a person with OCD when that’s clearly not the case for him. The placements of Appleby’s shots can often feel less than ideal, choosing awkward or ungraceful positions. When it also then tries to bring sexuality into the mix, the atmosphere doesn’t feel prepared for it. You could potentially compare what Appleby goes for with Adam & the Water to the style of Cooper Raith, it’s youthful, has a slight chaos and social awkwardness to it. However, there’s something to that style that makes it feel like he had his directorial sights set on something more experimental. As though he wanted to lean into the fantasy element but couldn’t quite get there, we only see the beginnings of it.
The way that Qado portrays Adam, he has a middle of the road guy quality to him. He’s introverted and isolated but there is a bigger energy beneath the surface which needs someone to break it out. One of the interesting things is he never feels like he has a very detailed or individual personality but because his struggle is sympathetic and relatable, he doesn’t need to have that, leaving things accessibly open for interpretation. Whereas Elisa Alemparte’s Eva is throwing a great, eccentric and big personality at the audience. She’s bursting with curiosity and enthusiasm, making a bold impression and pushing Adam to be more adventurous. They have a good chemistry and their dialogue is nicely fast paced, creating a great back and forth.
Adam & the Water explores the modern phenomenon of constantly feeling lost or aimless in today’s world. It feels as though we only dipped our toes into its creative side, like something was holding it back from taking more risks. The direction can be somewhat messy, which although it matches the tone of the film, it doesn’t always work. The story offers relevant, sympathetic themes but doesn’t quite build a satisfying story. It’s led well by Qado and Elisa Alemparte but it’s missing that stronger edge of individuality or emotion to take it further.