Set in the distant past of 2011, when the Occupy movement was still roaring and all hope was not yet lost, Vladan Nikolic’s Allure struggles to make sense of an uprising that didn’t ascend to the heights many had hoped.
It doesn’t help that the docudrama is arriving neither in the heat of the moment nor with more than a few years’ worth of hindsight on a movement whose full implications have yet to be sussed out. Nikolic does contribute to that effort, however, with a multicultural portrait of several women either directly involved in or tangentially affected by Occupy; the more he expands beyond this core element, the more interesting Allure becomes.
The filmmaker, originally from Serbia, has a sensitive understanding of the immigrant experience shared by many members of his cast — some of the strongest moments here are also the simplest, with people simply recounting their experiences. Of vital importance to this process is Aleksandar Kostic’s roving camerawork and grainy, black-and-white cinematography, though the camera’s agile movements often prove more kinetic and engaging than the halfhearted plot.
At times there’s no way to be sure whether what’s on screen is scripted or candid, a formal tension that keeps the film on its toes while also underscoring that it’s more effective as an experiential mood piece than it is as a drama.