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Non-Review Review: mother!

mother! is a vicious and visceral parable.

For all its flaws, mother! is never less than compelling. It is an ambitious piece of work, a piece of filmmaking that really knows what it wants and really goes for it, with little regard for the audience’s comfort or for the conventions of storytelling. mother! is an absurdist and surrealist narrative, one that makes no apologies for its more bizarre twists or brazen brutality. Aronofsky has conceded that he wrote the first draft of mother! in ten days, a much shorter turnaround than most of his films. It shows in the best possible way, with mother! feeling like a gonzo fever dream.

There are problems, to be fair. mother! is probably strongest in its opening acts, when it is still structured as a mystery to the audience, when the uncanny aspects of the script are creeping in around the edge of the narrative and the story supports any number of allegorical interpretations. This otherworldliness carries over to the second half, when it is paired with an intensity and momentum that prevents mother! from ever completely losing its footing. At the same time, the conclusion feels overly literal and blunt, sacrificing ambiguity for purity of vision.

While this is a serious enough flaw from a narrative perspective, it is hard to complain too much. mother! is energetic and invigourating, brash and bold. It is a movie that feels completely and utterly unlike a relatively high-profile mainstream cinematic release, the studio committing wholeheartedly to Aronofsky’s vision in a manner that is never less than endearing. mother! is pure and unfiltered Aronofsky, with the flavour only overwhelming in the final third.

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Non-Review Review: Devil

Devil actually has a pretty interesting B-movie premise, evoking the sort of cheesy thrill of an eighties horror. Six strangers are trapped inside an elevator… and one of them might be Satan. It’s a fairly straight-forward idea, albeit one that the script and direction needlessly complicate and convolute as they attempt to fill up the seventy-seven minutes. In many ways, Devil feels like something of a classic horror throwback, a simple high concept that relies on occasionally overstated jump scares rather than gratuitous gore or carnage. It’s not necessarily the best representation of the genre, but – if you can suspend your disbelief and live with the overwrought corniness – it’s an affectionate old-fashioned homage.

And things were just looking up…

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Non-Review Review: My Little Princess

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2012.

My Little Princess is a deeply disturbing piece of French cinema. It’s very hard to address the topic of the sexual exploitation of children in a way that doesn’t end up feeling exploitative itself. However, despite some moments of melodrama, Eva Ionesco’s creepy and unsettling character exploration is a fairly well-crafted film, one that leaves you feeling just a little bit dirty for even watching it.

Mamma Mia!

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