Allison Williams

The Perfection

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Charlotte was once a musical prodigy, but she had to leave school to take care of her sick mother. Years later, she seeks out her old teachers and meets the young cellist who replaced her. The two young women become instantly connected. From the moment they meet the pair are entangled in a twisted spiral leading them into chaos and madness.

I’m going to be fairly vague with this review because it is nearly impossible to go more in-depth without giving away spoilers. Eric C. Charmelo (Supernatural, Ringer) and Nicole Snyder (Supernatural, Ringer) co-wrote The Perfection along with director Richard Shepard (Girls, The Matador). This trio creates a truly engrossing film with fascinating, dynamic characters. From the moment the film starts the audience is drawn into Charlotte’s story. When she meets the other cellist, Elizabeth, there is a connection between them that is impossible to ignore. Yet there is an underlying tension that builds like a ball of snow; slow and subtle at first, then a giant thundering mass that threatens everyone in its path.

There is so much to enjoy with the plot of The Perfection. It all centers around the need to be perfect and the pressures, both internal and external, that compound that pressure until it causes a person to implode. This is one of the many aspects of the plot that feels both poignant and relevant to things going on in the world today. The film is broken into chapters, and each chapter brings an all new revelation that is sure to shock audiences. The numerous twists and turns perfectly keep you on the edge of your seat. Every time I thought I had figured out what was happening in the film I was proven to be dead wrong. I have never seen a film with so many fantastic twists that still tells a compelling and cohesive story.

Both of the female leads in this film deliver powerhouse performances. Allison Williams (Girls, Get Out) dazzles as Charlotte. On the surface Charlotte seems like a well-adjusted young woman, but there is an intensity that bubbles up from under the surface. Williams shows, yet again, that this is the genre she was born to act in. Logan Browning (Bratz, Dear White People) plays the magnetic Elizabeth, who also goes by Lizzie. She is the polar opposite of Charlotte as she is edgier and more outgoing. This is the first film I’ve ever seen Browning in, and she absolutely blew me away. Both of these characters are incredibly well written, and the chemistry between Williams and Browning is absolutely electric.

As if this film doesn’t have enough going for it, the visuals are also amazing. Most of what makes this film stunning to look at is through simple framing and lighting. Some of the most beautiful scenes to look at are when either Charlotte or Lizzie are playing the cello. These scenes are shot in a way that allows the audience to almost feel part of the music, moving between close ups of the player’s hands and wide shots where the player is perfectly framed. One unexpected aspect of the visuals is some very subtle CGI work. It is so subtle and so well done that it is hard to even tell that what you’re looking at isn’t practically done. It allows for some rather shocking and disturbing imagery in an otherwise gorgeous film.

The Perfection lives up to its name by delivering a suspenseful film with endless twists that still result in a complex, cohesive story. It is the kind of plot that not only keeps you guessing, but leaves you speechless. I found myself thinking about the film long after it ended. The filmmakers create movie magic, and the performances by both Williams and Browning absolutely blew me away. My one concern is whether or not this film will be as effective upon a second viewing since the filmmakers rely so heavily on the twists and turns. I do recommend audiences go in as blind as possible and avoid the trailer, as it does show some images that could spoil a few of the twists. Instead, be sure to catch it on Netflix as soon as you can. Looking back on the film, I think it is safe to say that it is my favorite film of 2019… so far.

OVERALL RATING: 9.5/10

Get Out

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A talented young black photographer goes on a trip with his white girlfriend to meet her family. Once they arrive at the luxurious and secluded estate, he notices that the only other black people in the area serve the rich white families. Even more strange is their behavior. After one of the few black residents snaps and screams for the young photographer to get out, it becomes clear that there is something much more sinister going on in this quiet little town.

In recent years there has been a rise in traditionally comedic writers breaking their way into the horror genre. We saw Diablo Cody do it with Jennifer’s Body, Kevin Smith did it with Red State and Tusk, and soon we will see Danny McBride do it for a new Halloween film. Get Out is not only Jordan Peele’s first dive into writing a horror film, but it is also his directorial debut. Along with those who preceded him, Peele does an amazing job of creating a dark and twisted film that is still heavily laced with humor.

Like many horror films that are also humorous, Peele focuses on a social issue and then exaggerates to the point of being satirical. Get Out focuses on a young black man meeting his white girlfriend’s apparently racist family and all of their racist friends. That isn’t a new idea that audiences haven’t seen, but Peele takes it a step further creating something exciting, unique, and darkly funny. I won’t go into too much detail, but Peele does a great job of giving the audience clues throughout the film leading up to the climax and a few great surprises. Another interesting thing to note is that, while this film focuses on white people being racist against black people, it manifests differently than you would expect. Again, I will spare further details because it may spoil a few surprises, but you will understand what I mean once you see the film. The only negative I can really say is that Peele attempts to include a few classic horror movie jump scares. They are clearly meant to startle the audience, but they fall short of actually scaring anyone.

This is a film where every actor, no matter the size of their part, does a tremendous job in their roles. Daniel Kaluuya (Sicario, Kick-Ass 2) is delightful as the lead, Chris. He is charming, funny, and fierce when he needs to be. For those who have read my reviews so far in 2017, you may have noticed two films I reviewed where I complained about British actors playing Americans and how I could hear British their accents break through. It is a major pet peeve of mine. Kaluuya is British, yet not once can you tell by listening to him speak. That alone gives him points for me. One surprise performance comes from Allison Williams (Girls, Peter Pan) as the girlfriend, Rose. In the past I have not been a fan of her acting, but Williams won me over in Get Out, especially in the second half of the film when things take a turn for the worst. There is one smaller role that really grabs my attention over and over again during the film. Betty Gabriel (The Purge: Election Year, Good Girls Revolt) blew me away as the housekeeper, Georgina. Gabriel’s performance is somehow unsettling and hilarious all at once. While these three stand out to me, there is truly not one actor in the film that I can think of who isn’t fantastic.

While the content of this film is not so subtle, the effects are. Virtually all of the practical effects are utilized during the climax of the film. The filmmakers make a wise decision in these scenes by not fully showing any kind of gore. There are clearly well done practical effects, but to keep the focus off the more unsightly things, the filmmakers never show them in full focus. Much of the events that necessitate practical effects occur just off camera or at an angle where you can clearly see what is going on without getting the full visual. While I enjoy a healthy amount of gore as much as the next horror fan, this method works for Get Out because it forces you to pay more attention to the events taking place rather than the amount of blood and guts. The only other special effects in the film create what is known as the “sunken space.” It gives the audience a compelling visual of what hypnotism looks like from within the mind of one who is being hypnotized.

The horror of Get Out is not only the events that take place, but also the racism that fuels these events. Jordan Peele skillfully takes on a serious social issue in a unique light that results in a thrilling film dripping with dark humor. I’m sure it’s no accident that Get Out is being released during Black History Month, especially in the current political climate. This film is dark, twisted, hilarious, exciting, mysterious, and incredibly well acted. People from a vast array of backgrounds and ages can enjoy Get Out because it has a little something for everyone. I have a feeling that Get Out will make my top ten of 2017 list at the end of the year.

OVERALL RATING: 9/10