Monthly Archives: March 2019

Review: Bird Box

screen-shot-2018-12-27-at-10.28.15-amGranting a movie its concept is, in general, as axiomatic a principle as a respectable film critic can hold, but boy does Susanne Bier’s Bird Box test that classical truth at every turn. Adapting a story about the perils of sight to a visual medium is both a grand folly and a delicious possibility, a dare to accept the task of playing around with cinema’s very form. To forget the foundational cinematic tradition of show-not-tell. To both advance to its logical conclusion terror’s tradition of visualizing the un-visualizable and, as importantly, to acknowledge what can’t be seen. So the “concept” of Bird Box isn’t actually rotten so much as a question mark, a quandary to be used for good or ill as the creators see fit. How do you use a visual medium to thematize the inability to see? Continue reading

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Review: A Quiet Place

image3.1520777936Noise kills, and that old trope of a horror film narrative device is given a sturdy work-out by director John Krasinski in A Quiet Place. Himself playing the male lead and casting his wife as his on-screen partner, it seems self-evident that A Quiet Place treats its horror as a distinctly personal affront, and his craft belies the care he put into this production. This, in other words, is personal for Krasinski. But, if this film relies on horror as personal threat, it is definitively not an existential threat here: the bestiary of A Quiet Place is a threat to an assumed normative domesticity rather than a question for it. Family-hood is pro forma here, a way to appeal to an audience’s basest fears rather than reconsider them. In a film like A Quiet Place, women give birth because, well, why would one ask? Continue reading