Shortland nails the film’s spy-action component; it has a good tone and pace, the fights and set pieces are all well done, the comedy is well placed (see the awkward helicopter reunion after prison break), and the VFX looks good, save for in the sky. Despite good performances, the family drama has more issues; for such a traumatic and complex situation that’s steeped for 20+ years, the attempts at laughs feel misguided, and the dinner table scene does not come close to justifying the resolve.
Jo March reflects back and forth on her life, telling the beloved story of the March sisters – four young women each determined to live life on their own terms. (IMDb)
The timeline hopping is cleverly and masterfully executed (see the warm vs. cold tones, mirrored shots) and adds remarkable emotional depth (see Jo walking down the stairs x2) to what is an already extremely well-written (and acted) web of characters (to the big emotional moments are added many brilliant little overlapping quips and quibbles). Often hilarious (“I’m making a mould of my foot for Laurie to remind him I have nice feet!”) and always heartfelt, with a delightfully cheeky ending.
A couple travels to Sweden to visit a rural hometown’s fabled mid-summer festival. What begins as an idyllic retreat quickly devolves into an increasingly violent and bizarre competition at the hands of a pagan cult. (IMDb)
It’s terrifying how potent and perfect Aster’s direction is, helped of course by Pugh’s standout turn. The long pre-title sequence is brilliantly done and fucking unbearable, and this description applies throughout, as heartwrenching music, creative camerawork, and a beautiful aesthetic decorate the disgusting horrors, which regrettably get grossly self-indulgent in the second half as the intriguing story arcs (Dani’s grief, the strained relationship, the thesis drama) fade into the background.
7.5/10 (Really Good)