“Things go a certain way. Then they don’t.” Almost a fitting description of the love story at the heart of Gus Van Sant’s Restless. The story of a suicidal Enoch (Henry Hopper, son of Dennis) who draws himself into chalk-outlines for morbid fun and his pixie-dreamgirl, Annabel (Mia Wasikowska – excellent), who is more serene than manic, luminously dying of brain cancer. The film charts their budding romance as fall turns to winter in Portland, Oregon and how both of them come to terms with death. The film might have just a bit too much quirk for the rather heavy subject matter, but for those willing or able to get emotionally invested beyond the directors self-awareness, things can, perhaps, be extrapolated to a universal human condition. Self denial, or at the very least, a healthy suspension of disbelieve is required of the viewer as much at the characters practice this at every turn. An awareness of the typical cliches inherent in this type of movie, and how Gus Van Sant both both embraces and subverts them are at times revealing. They are are onto something even as they often jerk the audiences chain. If not for the bittersweet blend of earnestness and sly self-awareness, Restless would surely fall into the tar-pit of sugary schmaltz that plagues Good Will Hunting and Finding Forrester. Call this film a curious hybrid of the directors ‘mainstream’ mode and more experimental ‘Death Trilogy’ (Gerry, Elephant, Last Days) mode, although it very much leans towards the former.