By:Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –
Did you know there was a second prequel to The Dark Knight? One where we learn all about the Joker’s childhood and get a little peek into what might have made him so supremely fucked up? Well, I didn’t either. Also, if you asked me what his actual first name was, probably my 504th guess would be Kevin. The more you know…
I don’t know what #1 would be… Rupert?
All “joking” aside (the amount of inspiration I feel in a review has an inverse relationship with the amount of puns I use) this film goes some dark lpaces. It examines a young man who commits a terrible crime through the viewpoint of his mother, spanning from his conception through a disturbing antagonistic childhood all the way to the aftermath of his crime.
This film made quite an impression on quite a few critics, and for good reason Respected indie director Lynne Ramsay uses her whole tool-bag of editing tricks and shot selection to drive home her points obliquely or underscore her more overt ones. Her striking use of color, particularly red, also masterfully accomplishes this, and her use of audio to juxtapose the horrifying and the mundane is supremely unsettling, almost as much as its black hole-level dark humor.
Or perhaps laughing about anything in this movie makes me broken inside
It’s the performances, though, that carry the film. Ezra Miller, as the teenage iteration of Kevin, is utterly chilling, and I only half-joked when I said that he could conceivably grow into Heath Ledger’s Joker. Swinton outshines even this performance, once again giving a master class in acting as a mother who values her personal freedom over motherhood. She’s probably the worst mother I’ve ever seen on the screen, which is saying something, but her skill is so great that, if not empathizing with, we can at least pity the character that she creates.
This film is unflinching in so many things that it’s a sort of curious decision when it chooses not to depict the crime that the plot centers on. The effectiveness of the film doesn’t depend on it, but I can’t help but think that its impact would have been even greater, and the symbolic way they choose to portray it comes off as pretty weak after so much build up.
This is a very dark, very challenging film, but if you’re up to tangling with that, a very rewarding one.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever the color red or blood is used as a motif (but first ask yourself: Can I drink for close to two hours straight?)
Take a Drink: whenever the kid does something creepy
Drink a Shot: whenever mother and son share an uncomfortable sexual moment