14 May 2021.
This week we have 3 troubling films that are nevertheless worthy of your time, and good for a discussion of their whys and wherefores… Is this a sign of our era – dark and polemic?
Oh, for those lively, wonderful Italian Comedies of old, that are still continuing at the Grütli until June 1st. They will boost your morale. Check out their schedule on www.cinema-du-grutli.ch.
WILDLAND *** (vo Danish)
How far does one owe allegiance to family? A recently orphaned teenager Ida is sent to live with her aunt and cousins who seem to be very welcoming to her. The strange, twisted household of various cousins, in-laws and children is tightly controlled by a sensual matriarch (Sidse Babett Knudsen) who also runs a nightclub.
But the family makes their real money in more violent ways and poor Ida is dragged into their vicious business through both warm attention and fear – a potent mix. Will she become one of them, or will she escape the putrid atmosphere?
This debut film by the Danish director Jeanette Nordahl is dark, tense and mystifying, both a thriller and a psychological probe into the mind of a young, bewildered girl. It reminds one of both the 2010 Australian film, “Animal Kingdom”, and the Bard’s phrase from Hamlet: ‘Something is rotten in the state of Denmark’…
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN **1/2
This is a vengeance film straight out of the pulse of the times, with a big hurrah for the MeToo movement and the idea that men are rotten predators.
It has the talented Carey Mulligan in a powerful role as a girl out to avenge the rape of her best friend by setting up all sorts of men, to bring them down. Maybe it is because of this, and that it is directed by a woman (Emerald Fennell, in her debut as director), that it garnered the awe of critics and picked up quite a few Oscar and other nominations, in keeping with the recent, disturbing Woke climate (a sort of social/sexual McCarthyism).
How could it have won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay when there are so many holes in it, with banal dialogue, such obvious turns in the plot, plus a super Hollywood ending? The blatant success of its flavor of the year is political favoritsm all the way down the line.
With its colorful, punchy style versus its troubling premise it certainly creates room for much discussion on where society is going. As one viewer remarked, the growth of such hateful, too politically correct movements only create more division between the sexes, races and differing opinions. Or as one critic wrote: it’s a “a stylized but airless polemic on a serious subject.”
I CARE A LOT **1/2
Brilliant casting and sharp editing make this a gripping film, though it does tend to skid off into hyperbole. And its utter cynicism on the dark side of the American dream doesn’t lighten the load.
But a riveting Rosamund Pike as a crooked caretaker to the elderly, Peter Dinklage (that very attractive dwarf from “Game of Thrones” and “Three Billboards…”) as a ruthless crime lord, and a wonderful Dianne Wiest as his mother, are so good that those exaggerations may be forgiven.
The wild plot is about Pike’s ambitious character who has created a huge business as a legal caretaker to old people whom she strips of their savings, homes and belongings after she has put them into a retirement home. Her lucrative dealings are going smoothly until she picks on a sweet lady who is connected to a powerful gangster and all hell breaks loose.
There’s excitement and gallows humor in this morality yarn by J Blakeson, and you can catch it at the plush Empire cinema in its original version or in Balexert and La Praille, dubbed in French. It is also showing on Netflix.
(See the schedules of all the films on cineman.ch – Geneva.)
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.