One of the most gripping films I’ve seen - for the first 90% of it.
Sexy, dark, beautiful, mysterious, tense - FUCKING TENSE - and complex. Unfortunately the payoff wasn’t there. Or I didn’t get it. But either way is that my fault or the filmmakers? Hard to tell. Regardless it was working for me but didn’t meet at the end - like watching beautiful ribbons dance in the wind then instead of a beautiful flowery ribbon they tie together in a square not. That’s it?
The performances were noir-esque but more grounded. Dark, quirky, with more than a few moments of melodrama. The characters - while unique feeling and flawed, never really became humans - perhaps another loyal nod to noir.
The look of the film is clean, bold, contrasty, and sexy. Makes sense that Tom Ford is behind it. Dark blacks and bright reds. Sharp. Saturated. Well composed and at times striking images. Not afraid of simply having a head and a solid color background as a composition - simple but effective.
A bit reliant on the shot reverse shot for conversations - locked into medium close ups for most of the exchanges. That can be ok but when the dialogue comes off as repetitive (it often does) you really feel it. I think the editor could have lost a lot of the dialogue in the conversations - it felt often like we were hearing things twice. A sharper knife would have made the film feel smarter and shorter - and I think the audience could have kept up.
The content was a bit low brow but presented in fashionable high brow - murder, rape, cops and derelicts, revenge, abortion. An interesting contrast to the highbrow art world that it echoes. The subject matter is engaging if not particularly fresh or novel. The subjects listed are dramatic low hanging fruits but everything looks so good it comes off as fresh.
The ending, unfortunately, is what lost me. I didn’t get it. Was it a twist, an underscoring of the theme? I’m unsure. Normally I can guess or contrive the meaning but here I’m left a bit befuddled. Maybe I missed something. Maybe it’s open intentionally.
To come back to that ribbon analogy - it was almost like the two ribbons were just laying next to each other, they didn’t tie together at all. Gorgeous and intriguing, but of little lasting power or use. Too bad - they’re so pretty!