The Waiting Room is a beautiful bummer

Director makes story based on his star’s life even more depressing

THE WAITING ROOM (Igor Drljaca). Some subtitles. 92 minutes. Opens Friday (June 3). See listing. Rating: NNN

Writer/director Igor Drljaca and actor Jasmin Geljo, who made 2012’s moody Krivina, reunite for a drama about an actor trying to recapture his sense of purpose by restarting the career that faltered when he left Sarajevo for Toronto two decades earlier.

The Waiting Room was inspired by the path of Geljo’s own life, though Drljaca nudges things in a more depressing direction. Geljo plays a fictional Jasmin who’s disconnected from his career and his new family and haunted by a past he’s unwilling to confront.

He halfheartedly tries to revive a pantomime character that was successful in the old country, but he’s older now and the effort is obvious. So he drives people around and auditions for a role in which he drives people around, and waits for something to happen. And he waits. And we wait with him.

There’s a stark beauty to Roland Echavarria’s imagery, and Geljo clearly knows his frustrated, melancholy character inside out, but a few ill-advised choices let the air out of The Waiting Room in its final movement.      

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