Described as “a short film questioning the meaning of life, while appreciating and reflecting on its beauty,” Jeppe Kolstrup sets up strings of life’s musings against a montage of experimental filmmaking.
Set as a dialogue between a man and a woman, they go back and forth over the overwhelming sense of freedom and fear that comes with the first taste of adulthood. Sure, once you have your own place, you can watch as many episodes of Game of Thrones as your heart desires, but at what point to do need to shift your responsibility outward? And at what point is one ready to take on that responsibility? Is it possible to escape all of this for a more permanent freedom?
Accompanying this existentialism are sometimes jarring cuts of what we assume to be our protagonists, separate, exploring their apartments, dancing through trees, and swimming in lakes. Sandwiched between these shots are explosive clips of chemical processes seen through the microscope. It all alludes to an awakening of self, a sort of internal discovery of their places in the world around them.
As the film continues, the dialogue shifts into the responsibility of living a conventional life. “First you’ve got to have a wife, then you’ve got to get a minivan, then you’ve got to get a house, then, of course, you’ve got to get a mortgage…it’s a lot.” All of this is framed by the idea of bringing a child into the world, and whether or not one can ever feel ready for that responsibility and the steps it takes to get there.
Overall, Tropical Island provides an interesting dialogue and look into the weird middle space of early adulthood, stuck between the first and perceived last tastes of freedom.