Thursday
Apr262018

"BRAID" // TRIBECA 2018 REVIEW

BY MATEO MORENO

The experience of sitting back and watching Mitzi Peirone’s hypnotic horror thriller BRAID is about as close to fully tripping out without having to do any illegal drugs. Or even any legal ones. This hallucinogenic thrill ride is one of the craziest, trippiest, and most beautiful experiences at the festival this year. The style of the film is very intoxicating. The story is so bananas that you simply stop trying to keep up or make sense of anything because, quite simply, rarely any of it does make sense. Characters simply do things. Forget motivation. They’re going to just do them. But if you can throw your common sense out the window for a bit, you just may have one hell of a time.

 

Two friends, Petula and Tilda (Imogen Waterhouse and Sarah Hay) deal drugs in New York and are having a grand old time. But after a bust gone haywire, they must flee the town, elude the police, and escape their pissed off dealer. Their plan is simple: they end up heading to their childhood friend Daphne’s (Madeline Brewer) mansion of a house and steal everything she’s got. So, they can have enough to really skip town proper. But doing this ends up not being easy at all, as they are forced (well, kind of forced. They sort of just do it) into a twisted role-playing game that all three girls used to play as kids (these are three kids I am VERY glad I didn’t know growing up). The main rule is simple: last 48 hours and walk away with the money. And that’s really where it stops even sort of making sense.

 

The role playing takes a lot of gruesome twists and turns and why they don’t just kill her and run away with the money is never addressed. What is address is a lot of purple, pink, yellow, and bright and crazy hued scenes straight out of Wonderland. You are at the Mad Hatter’s tea party here and all three girls take turns being in charge, being a prisoner, and being screwed over. A lot of the actual “story” is maddening if you think about it. But the movie seems to know that and not care. This film is meant to be an “immersive, check your common sense at the door and come trip out with me” experience. And all of the actresses are game, giving fully crazed commitment. BRAID is certainly not for everyone. It’s not even for most people. But I guarantee that if you give it a shot, you haven’t ever seen anything quite like it.

VERDICT: SEE IT (With strong reservations if you're not 100% "in")

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY Mitzi Peirone STARRING Madeline Brewer, Imogene Waterhouse, Sarah Hay, Scott Cohen. Playing as part of the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.

 

Thursday
Apr262018

"JONATHAN" // TRIBECA 2018 REVIEW

BY MATEO MORENO

There’s a lot to explore in JONATHAN, and a lot that I don’t want to give away. It’s a symbolism heavy, slow burn sci-fi thriller, one that has shades of many films that have come before it. And although you can’t fully call it a completely “original idea,” I truly enjoyed the route they took, the slower pace it traveled, and was hooked by Ansel Elgort’s lead performance. Here he plays Jonathan, a young man living a very ordinary, and some might even say boring, life. He doesn’t have any friends but has a successful career, enjoys his job and at the end of the night records a video for his roommate John. Which as we find out, is also played by Elgort. John is much more outgoing and not nearly as reserved as his roommate Jonathan. But why are they played as the same actor. Are they living in two different places? Are they twins? Is it two realities? I had a lot of these burning questions going through my head and the twisty and meaty script takes it time to answer it and when it does, the film explores them instead of answering them.

 

Does that sound confusing? It really isn’t, but this review may be as I try to stay spoiler free. Director Bill Oliver’s emotionally powerful film is a quiet gem, one that lets Elgort really show a great range. He’s backed up by some great supporting roles, filled out by Suki Waterhouse, Patricia Clarkson, and Matt Bomer in roles that…well I won’t quite reveal who they are, or how they interact with Jonathan or John. But the unraveling of who these two people are, why they never interact, and where their journey leads them is a graceful and thrilling ride and a sci-fi film that doesn’t rely on huge special effects. It instead relies on simple and troubled human emotions and digs deep into you as it does.

 

 

VERDICT: SEE IT

 

WRITTEN BY Peter Nickowitz, Bill Oliver, Gregory Davis. DIRECTED BY Bill Oliver. STARRING Ansel Elgort, Suki Waterhours, Patricia Clarkson, Matt Bomer. Playing as part of the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. 

https://www.tribecafilm.com/filmguide/jonathan-2018

Thursday
Apr262018

"DISOBEDIENCE" // TRIBECA 2018 REVIEW

BY MATEO MORENO

To be able to step out of your life, to step back into the past is something some of us wish for. Some of us fear it all together. But most of us know that we are wholly different people than we were way back when. If we were to step back and try to rediscover that person, what would we find? It’s especially intriguing if your past recalls a very different version of you, perhaps a much more ridged person, a person who had not yet opened to the world, or a person surrounded by religion. The latter example is what makes up the plot of DISOBEDIENCE, Sebastián Lelio’s new yearning through conflict drama.

 

The setting is an Orthodox Jewish community in north London and a community who gathers together after the death of a revered rabbi (Anton Lesser). His daughter Ronit (Rachel Weisz) was shunned by the community years ago after her attraction to a childhood friend Esti (Rachel McAdams), who was also part of the community. She’s now a successful photographer in New York who decides to return home for her father’s funeral. She’s coming back for the first time since she left this community, and the world of Orthodox Judaism, behind. The community itself does not necessarily welcome her back with open arms, though her two best friends do: Esti and Dovid (Alessandro Nivola), who is now married to Ronit’s old flame and is the soon to be successor of her father. Esti and Ronit’s passion is rekindled with intimate looks across the room, stolen kisses and it threatens to upheave the entire community, and the world that Esi and Dovid have built for themselves.

 

DISOBEDIENCE is quiet and moody and searing with heartache, longing, and passion. The film wisely never discredits the religion and never makes them a villain. Instead, we do side with Ronit, and we do want to agree against their narrow views of society, but we still feel the love and passion they have themselves for their religious world. It’s a fascinating feeling watching the film, and one that’s elevated by three amazing performances. Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams have true chemistry together, and their push and pull is powerful to experience. You want them to rediscover each other and you long for the moment they do. That is both a great thing to see, and one that is a slight complaint as well, being that as the audience, you’re never not on Ronit’s side. A stronger argument from the community’s point of view would have been interesting to add a bit more mystery to the proceedings. None the less, it all works, and is kinetic. In lesser hands, Dovid’s character would be a cartoonish buffoon, a man who didn’t realize who his wife truly loved until it was too late, but in the tight scripting and Alessandro Nivola’s incredibly rooted performance, you are also with him every step of the journey and understand his pain and confusion just as much as Ronit’s and Esti’s. Beautiful cinematography adds to the power of the story, and it’s one that I highly recommend.

VERDICT: MUST SEE
WRITTEN BY Sebastián Lelio, Rebecca Lenkiewicz DIRECTED BY Sebastián Lelio STARRING Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams, Alessandro Nivola. Playing as part of the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. https://www.tribecafilm.com/filmguide/disobedience-2018