I do want to start this review out by saying that this film is not for everyone, which should be a given considering a lot of what the film contains. It’s a very depressing and dark film that really doesn’t hold back some of which I will be getting into. Also I want to point this out now because it’s not being said enough, Blonde is NOT a biopic it’s based off a book of the same name that came out in 2000 written by Joyce Carol Oates. It’s also a fictionalized take on Marilyn Monroe’s life and career. Although sadly some of the stuff in the film aren’t far from the truth such as the abuse she went through, to start off Ana De Armas is absolutely incredible as Marilyn Monroe, she truly captures a lot of Monroe’s actions, her voice and her overall personality. Which ultimately makes the film that much more tragic down the road, the use of black and white, cinematography and the editing are all quite fantastic. They create this nightmare inducing film that really hits the viewer harder and harder as it goes on. Each of the three create hauntingly stunning scenes that capture a lot of dread, tragedy and depression, from the very first scene the film establishes the tone and that the film isn’t going to sugarcoat anything. We see Norma Jeane Mortensen as a child and how the film sets up it’s start into a huge nightmare. As the film progresses we see a lot of abuse, many people treating Monroe like she isn’t human and so much more. Ultimately what Blonde is showing is a tragedy of someone who wants to make it big, how fame is truly evil and how the industry uses it’s actors or actresses. It’s to the point where it becomes a horror film about fame and how it can damage someone who simply just wants fame and to star on the big screen. The ending is truly depressing and wraps the film up as terrifying as it can be, Monroe was someone who did not have an easy life at all and there is much to this day we do not know about her and quite frankly we may never will. It’s a truly dark film that is going to stick with me for a very long time.
In 2017 Julia Ducournau released her directional debut film Raw which was a very disturbing film and quite a fantastic one, now this year she released Titane which is also very disturbing but what makes Titane standout from other disturbing films is it ends up being quite sweet and in someways wholesome. First let’s talk about performances Agathe Rousselle and Vincent Lindon easily give some of the best performances of the year, the rawness, power and just overall talent their performances show is quite amazing, they both truly capture the viewer’s attention and bring you into the film. Everyone else in the film does a fantastic job as well, each giving really interesting performances that add to the overall film, the atmosphere is very interesting while it is suspenseful and definitely does keep you wondering what’s going to happen next, it’s the type of atmosphere you wouldn’t think of when you think of the word disturbing. In some parts of the film it’s a wholesome type atmosphere that actually gets you to feel for each of the characters, the writing is masterful it’s filled to brim with interesting dialogue, emotional scenes that actually punch you in the gut and disturbing scenes that will most definitely disturb you. The music is pretty incredible as well, it adds so much to the film and adds to the weirdness as well! Lastly there’s Julia Ducournau’s direction is hands down some of the best direction I’ve seen in a film in quite some time, every scene feels important and adds so much to the story, the themes that get explored such as gender-bending and psychopathic violence are done incredibly well with care to them. There’s a ton of quiet moments between the characters are some of the most powerful, the body horror aspect takes things in a entirely new direction that the subgenre really hasn’t explored yet. It’s truly a masterfully directed film that reminds me of why I love film so much. Titane doesn’t just rely on gore or violence to be disturbing, it has many different themes that it explores wonderfully and throws in some wholesome scenes in it to make it standout from a lot of disturbing films. Titane is truly a fantastic film that I highly recommend going in knowing as little as possible, at the time of writing this Titane is my favorite film of 2021 so far and I’ll be shocked if that changes!
Finally at number one we have The Novice, which those who participated in the festival could easily see why. Everything in The Novice just blends so well together that leads to some incredible results. First off Isabelle Fuhrman gives her best performance to date, as well as giving one of the best performances of the year. She truly delivers in her role it’s raw, impactful and really shows how talented she really is. The atmosphere is thrilling to the point where it can almost be considered a horror film, the style of the film is up close and really beings you into what’s going on in certain scenes. The music also turns this film into a horror film by having a beautifully haunting feel to it, the film heavily reminded me of Whiplash which makes sense Lauren Hadaway who directs the film did the sound for Whipslash and you can easily tell. There’s so much level of care and attention to detail as well, it’s extraordinary and leads into disturbing territory. It’s a very interesting film about self destruction and how quickly it can happen. Hands down one of the best films of the year, I really hope this releases soon!
Catch The Fair One is one of the most intense and disturbing films so far this year, Kali Reis gives such a fantastic performance and definitely one of the best of the year. She really dives deep into her role and shows an incredible amount of talent that is showed throughout the film, the thrilling atmosphere that makes the film very uncomfortable adds so much to it as well, it brings a sense of realness to it that hits hard whenever it can. Director Josef Kubota also does a fantastic job of building an atmosphere that grabs your attention, there’s a lot of brutal moments that truly leave an impact on the viewer as well. Combine all of this with Darren Aronofsky who is one of the producers and you really have yourself a disturbing ride, this is one of those films where although a certain director is producing the film you can still feel their energy or their marks in this case Darren Aronofsky. Catch The Fair One is a revenge story that truly is one of the stronger ones, it’s an incredibly raw film that keeps things as grounded as possible. From the writing to the acting there’s so much to absolutely love about this one, if your a fan of the revenge genre be sure to watch this one once it releases!
The Kids is a documentary that’s not going to be easy to talk about and it’s definitely going to be hard to review as the documentary is very self explanatory, but I feel like this discussion needs to be talked about. Almost immediately when I saw this being confirmed for the Tribeca Film Festival I knew this was going to be one of the ones I’m going to watch. The documentary is about the actors and actresses who were in the controversial film and disturbing film that released in 1995 and how they were treated terribly, felt used and taken advantage of by Larry Clark. Before I say anything about the documentary…Kids will always be one of my favorite films of all time, it was one of my major influences of getting into photography and I really appreciate what it did for indie films back in the 90s. HOWEVER I am willing to call out disgusting behavior from directors who take advantage of people and treat them horribly like what Larry Clark did in this case (Harmony Korine isn’t much better either he never stood up for the cast and pretty much abandoned them as well) the documentary itself has Hamilton Harris and a lot of other cast members talking about what happened behind the scenes and so much more. It’s a very disturbing documentary that I almost guarantee will make you very angry and question why people were actively ignoring this. The documentary goes over the deaths of Justin Pierce (who won Best Debut Performance at the Spirit Awards in 1996) and Harold Hunter the lack of never reaching out to these kids to make sure they are okay or anyway trying to help is truly gross. The kids struggled to find work and Larry Clark did nothing to help them at all, Harris ultimately does find peace with Korine and Clark’s decision not to be interviewed in the documentary. A lot of the cast members now have families of their own (Harris included) but that doesn’t erase how disturbing this whole situation was. As far as filmmaking goes the documentary is nicely crafted with tons of information that you definitely need to know about the topic, it’s truly one of the best films so far this year. I truly hope this releases soon.