Screened at the 2021 Reeling LGBTQ+ International Film Festival (4/10)

Take a group of selfish, sexually insecure characters, put them in a story with long-simmering, unaddressed regrets and the search for rationalized, self-serving desires, and you’ve got this meandering, lackluster Spanish melodrama in which it’s virtually impossible to develop any interest in, or sympathy for, all concerned. This tale of misguided, unbridled ambition and sexual gamesmanship has difficulty establishing its focus, and, once it does, viewers are likely to find the characters’ motivations and actions unsavory and/or ruled by poor judgment. And, by film’s end, audiences will probably find them to be pathetic – and not especially deserving of our empathy. In their feature film debut, co-directors Ángeles Hernández and David Matamoros fail to generate much of a connection between viewers and the players on screen, leaving many of us to wonder why we should care about them or their circumstances, essentially rendering the whole affair pointless. And that, unfortunately, about sums it up where “Isaac” is concerned.