Okay, so, as my limited number of followers might be aware, I promised to start reviewing horror movies in May. Well, at the end of May, I finally got around to it. Yeah, one problem with being an adult is how quickly the weeks and months get away from you. I apologize, and starting now, I’m going to try and keep you guys updated as much as I can.
Anyway, why am I reviewing this movie, of all things? Long story short, I’ve known about it for a long time, and I finally got around to watching it after two years of it being released. I’d always had intentions to watch it, because it did receive very positive reviews, but I’d never thought the cards of life would play out quite like this, where it’s the first movie I reviewed after months away from my blog.
One thing that stuck out to me is that, although the reviews of the movie were very positive, they were very vague about why it qualified as a thriller, especially because the way they described it made it seem like a domestic dispute movie like “Revolutionary Road.” With my viewing of the movie, I can say authoritatively that it is a thriller, and a rather unsettling one at that, even though the MPAA’s stated reason for its R rating is “language,” and that’s it. However, the reason why they were so vague about why the movie qualifies as a thriller also presented itself. I’ll go a little further in my assessment, and say that it tackles themes like distrust, lack of communications in interpersonal relations and bullying in high school and how it negatively affects life as an adult, all in ways that are thoughtfully explored and kept frighteningly relatable to the audience at all times. For the life of me, I will not spoil anything else about the movie, because it takes a while for the story to get moving, and the main conflict isn’t revealed until more than halfway through, which was an intentional choice on the part of the filmmakers. Because of this, I recommend that you see the movie, and then come back and read the review from this point, because, in the review proper, I will get into spoilers, because I can’t review movies in any other way.
Seen the movie? Yes? Well, let’s get this show on the road.
I do now understand why critics had a tough time describing why the movie is so good; it’s because, even now, two days after viewing it, I still have a tough time describing why the movie is so good. However, now that we’ve both seen it (you have seen it, right?), I can now say that it’s because of how fragile even the most affectionate relationships can really be when your significant other doesn’t communicate with you. This certainly isn’t the only theme tackled in the movie, but it’s the one that most pertains to Robyn and Simon’s end of the story. It also tells the audience that acting like you never did anything wrong in high school and rolled with the punches while others didn’t is silly to a sad degree as an adult, and can lead to well-meaning people who you don’t believe “rolled with the punches” having their livelihoods further impacted by your self-aggrandizement. As I said, the movie also shows the negative effects that Simon’s actions had on Gordo’s adult life, and is harshly critical of Simon for allowing them to go unhealed for so long. Yet still through all of this, the movie doesn’t portray Gordo as purely in the right, because his overall status of the story, whether it be misguided “good” supporting character, villain, hero or a little of all three, is left up to the viewer to decide. The slow build-up and slow-moving breaks in the story also work to the movie’s advantage well, and help show the banality of everyday life before it’s disrupted again and again.
Story Grade: 95% (A)
These characters are people who you feel could exist. Whether good or bad, their actions come from real, all-too-relatable places. One problem I did note after reviewing the movie in my head is that Robyn has a similar problem as Rey from “The Force Awakens,” where she’s a small role in a larger world, and isn’t portrayed as perfect, but has not as many depicted flaws as needed to be a truly memorable character. Aside from that, though, whether cringing or laughing with them, I found the characters interesting.
Characterization Grade: 85% (B)
Concise and to the point. That’s all I can say.
Script Grade: 85% (B)
This is what stands out to me the most from the movie. But I really did go over all of what makes this aspect of the movie work in the story section, so I’ll shut up.
Direction Grade: 90% (A-)
I like Jason Bateman (Simon) a lot, and Rebecca Hall (Robyn) and Joel Edgerton (Gordo, also the writer and director of the movie) are also quite good.
Acting Grade: 95% (A)
There are a few jump scares, but they complement the overall feeling of uneasiness in the movie, as opposed to release it. And make no mistake: This movie will make you feel uneasy after Gordo’s first gift, all the way to the end. It really does do well in making you feel like you’re watching a horror movie.
Scare Grade: 88% (B+)
Very, very good.
Execution Grade: 100% (A+)
If you haven’t seen the movie, go see it. Just make sure you’re aware of its slow pace and its different approach to horror.
Final Grade: 85% (B)
Well, that took a longer time than I thought I would. Anyway, look for a review of a non-horror movie before I go back to horror movies completely. See you tomorrow with that (hopefully).