The Final Girls Movie Review

the final girls

See it. 6/10

“They were never alive! They weren’t real. Neither are you because this is just a movie!”

It seems that the only way to make a decent horror film these days is to have the story lampoon the common tropes of others like it. The Final Girls unashamedly parodies classic slasher film clichés and uses them for comedic effect, which thankfully does enough to make this worth the watch. This self-aware nature is not as intelligent as another similar film, The Cabin In The Woods (which is also a film that I love) so don’t walk into this with high expectations, but there is enough ridiculousness and meta-humor that still warrants seeing The Final Girls. Especially if you’re a fan of horror in general and love when it can be fused with the likes of comedy akin to the film Tucker and Dale vs Evil.

What works for The Final Girls is the story and its outlandish portrayal of horror stereotypes seen in each of the characters. Every figure is written as a caricature of the typical individuals that you’d come across in any basic slasher horror film, whether it be the dumb jock or the virgin or those that are sexually proactive; The Final Girls represents all commonly used facets of horror filmmaking but does so to lampoon their stereotypes. There are often moments of humor based on the expense of character motivations that worked well to make me smile and overall, I enjoyed the meta-like nature of the script.

The only semi-original aspect that makes it refreshing enough is the idea of having characters being sucked up into a B-grade horror film and interacting with the characters from that said film. The story then takes on the life of the B-grade horror film and utilizes all the common tropes attaches to it. I didn’t mind that it becomes unoriginal because The Final Girls is all about subverting the unoriginal clichés of horror films for comedic effect. The film might encompass super cheesy moments or poorly written plot holes but those aren’t flaws I can criticize negatively because it’s intentionally being parodied. The only unoriginal trait about The Final Girls is that it chooses to lampoon those clichés when films like The Cabin In The Woods or Tucker and Dale vs Evil have done it in the past already.

I also have some issues with the film technically. There were times when the story wasn’t necessarily trying to lampoon those clichés just yet and that I thought these scenes could have been done in a way that didn’t really need to rely on B-grade jump scares. It seems like a wasted opportunity to employ some innovative horror filmmaking techniques like the use of sound or a slow pan to reveal something sinister and it could make me feel scared.

Altogether I can’t fault the films unoriginal story even though there are a lot of cheesy cliches thrown in. This film is attempting to parody slasher films and for the most part, I say it does so well enough. I wasn’t laughing hysterically and it’s nowhere near the genius of a parody film like Black Dynamite but it’s nevertheless passable. There’s enough to warrant seeing this film, especially if you’re at all interested in seeing horror but don’t go into it with exceedingly high hopes. The Final Girls isn’t a modern horror masterpiece but it’s still worth a recommendation. See it.

What We Do In The Shadows Movie Review

what we do in the shadows

See it. 7/10

“We’re Werewolves, not Swear-Wolves”

It might not necessarily handle an original subject but the comedy gold that comes out spins a refreshing twist and more than makes up for choosing to tackle a familiar genre. What We Do In The Shadows is another shining example of the style of humor The Flight of the Conchords are famous for, which makes sense because both were produced and co-directed by one half of that duo in Jermaine Clement. The jokes that come from this feature adaption are as witty and clever as their sense of knowing how to produce new ideas from a subject matter that’s inherently dated. Forget Twilight, this very well might be the funniest movie about Vampires and Werewolves ever made. But then again, the bar wasn’t really that set that high, to begin with.

The story follows a group of Vampires living together in an old house, as cameras follow their daily events and capture the lives of each character as they try to exist in harmony. Yes, it’s a similar style of mockumentary that I’ve seen before in TV shows like The Office or Modern Family, but coupled with the charm of the story and of the humor of the characters, it more than enough raises it up from a simple vampire story and instead  a hilarious film that just happens to revolve around the supernatural.

Why so many of jokes worked so well in What We Do In The Shadows is mainly thanks to its charismatic actors in their lead roles. Jermaine Clement is a notable standout, who has a nice knowledge of timing and delivery to help sell the punchlines of the jokes even more, which is an aspect that made me enjoy that style of humor with his band The Flight of the Conchords, so I was glad to see it translate so well here when tackling a different subject and environment. More importantly, I thought most of the jokes were actually genuinely funny.

The humor was often based off making fun of typical tropes associated with depictions of Vampires and I was glad to see them poking fun at such stereotypes of themselves. The idea to put them into a modern setting and explore how Vampires and Werewolves would live in current society also added to the jokes that could be made. It made the comedy more original whilst still being funny and even relatable.

What I was watching was a humorous interpretation of the question, if vampires and werewolves did exist, how would they fit into the world that we now know? Of course, the answer divulged into the lighter humorous side but that’s the whole point when the film is a comedy. So, although there may have been some flaws with how certain events would work in reality, (like why is there no police around investigating suspicious disappearances of people at their house) I don’t care because the script is intended to make me laugh and not portray an incredibly realistic adaption. All it needs is just enough logic and relatability to a modern setting and that’s it.

Apart from my love of the story, I also enjoyed the technical aspects of the film, particularly with the practical effects. There were often scenes showing vampires floating in the air, walking on walls, or even just fighting ludicrously outside of a club which was all done great. Not only did it add to the portrayal of their abilities, so it wasn’t just a film about people dressed to look like vampires. It also showed a level of care and effort to make those scenes work which I appreciated it. This is my favorite film from Taika Waititi who co-directed it alongside with Jermaine Clement, who later went onto to helm Thor: Ragnarok which in my eyes, wasn’t as funny as What We Do In The Shadows.

This film is very accessible and not only because it’s out on Netflix in Australia and the United States, but also from an audience level. The jokes and style of humor is never at all mean-spirited nor is it overly dark or black comedy, which is probably why The Flight of The Conchords have gained such recognition. The hilarity comes from lampooning the tropes in a clever way but also by focusing on witty observational remarks that again ooze why the script is fantastic to watch. What We Do In The Shadows is quotable, funny and very charming. Watch it if you’re in for a good comedy but have been thinking you’ve seen them all because this is definitely one of those hidden gems. See it.

Drive Movie Review

drive

See it. 7.5/10

“Hey, do you want to see something?”

Minimal on the outside but engagingly tense on the inside, Drive might be a simple story about a driver with a good heart who works for those that have none but the style with which the film is delivered more than makes up for its basic premise. From the 80’s styled synthesizer tracks to the masterful directing, this is a film that not only looks good, it feels great as well.

The best aspect of Drive is its soundtrack. I’ve regularly listened to the songs well after I saw the movie and they make some fantastic driving tunes. More importantly, the tracks will take me back to the exact scene in the film, and this is the testament to how powerful the right music can be. Just like whenever I hear Stealers Wheels ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’, I instantly think of Reservoir Dogs; now whenever I hear Kravinsky’s ‘Nightcall’, I’m imagining myself in the same situation from Drive.

The same compliments in music selection should also extend to the direction because every scene was composed in a beautiful way. Nicholas Winding Refn takes a step above the rule of third and instead focuses on a quadrant like system to position his characters in certain frames of the scene. It’s subtle but it’s a nice touch revisiting this film and picking up the purposeful placements that he employs, which was all great for me to see as it added to the interesting style of the movie.

Whilst I may appear to rag on the story, I’m only saying that because the technical features of this film standout incredibly more so, but that isn’t to say that it’s not engaging throughout. Having a film only look good isn’t enough if the story behind it can’t match the visual quality that it’s being presented with. You only have to look at what happened to Nicholas Winding Refn’s next film Only God Forgives which had an abysmal plot but nevertheless looked just fine. Having a film just look good isn’t enough; if you have a bad story and goes to show what happened when Nicholas’s Winding Refn’s next film Only God Forgives which had an abysmal plot.

Thankfully with Drive, this didn’t happen, and instead, I could enjoy the characters played by Ryan Gosling and Carrey Mulligan. The former being one of my favorite actresses and is an acting powerhouse in almost anything that she does. Which are notable aspects to bring up because the story is fairly restrained with its dialogue, so the body language of characters often has to say a lot more than the few words that they do speak. I like when films can be at this level of minimalism since they are intentionally focused on being reserved and calculating, allowing me to infer more information from the performances and visual clues. It cleverly works well with the plot since Ryan Gosling’s character is a personification of being reserved but always calculating with his handling of any situation that he encounters.

This is very much a sleek and well-made film, which is what still attracts me to rewatch it every now and then. And hey, now you can do so even easier because it’s on Netflix in Australia and in the United States. So, if you think you’ve seen all the action films that have car chases in them but are looking for something less ridiculous than The Fast and Furious franchise, then look no further. See it.

Burn After Reading Movie Review

burn after reading

See if. 8/10

“Report back to me when it makes sense”

If Seinfeld met the Coen Brothers, had a baby, and taught it how to use a camera, Burn After Reading would be the result. Only the Coen Brothers can make a movie that both simultaneously appears to be about nothing but also about everything, which is fitting given the title is to burn some knowledge that you first read and never see again. It’s a film that might leave you scratching your head by the end but ultimately, that’s exactly what it wants to do and I for one thought it was all great.

I’ve mentioned this previously, but the Coen Brothers have basically put filmmaking down to a science. Apart from Hail Caesar! and The Lady Killers, they haven’t really done anything wrong and have continued to make fantastic films across a variety of themes. Which is more than likely why the story for Burn After Reading also works because it’s handled by two people who can seemingly take any subject matter and make it incredibly interesting. This is also due to the wonderful array of characters they’ve created in their filmography and in Burn After Reading, we get a huge number of them.

From Brad Pitt playing a highly enthusiastic fitness trainer, to John Malkovich as an ex-CIA agent, every character was a burst of energy on screen. And when you have an all-star cast at your disposal with additions like George ClooneyFrances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Richard Jenkins, and J.K Simmons, I’m not surprised that these portrayals are coming to life so vividly. The actor-director relationship is working so well, which stems from the collaboration history for most of those names who have worked on many films directed by the Coen brothers.

This is going to be a fairly short review because just like the name Coen signals, you’re going to be getting some excellent filmmaking on display, but what I will add is that unlike some of the other more serious or tense films like No Country for Old Men, Burn After Reading lends itself to be very idiosyncratic. So much so that it isn’t as quirky as their other film The Big Lebowski, but more on the level where it stands out as being fresh in its own right.

There’s also a lot of different strands coming together with several subplots twinning in on themselves, almost akin to that of Alejandro Iñárritu’s Babel, but it’s much funnier than that. As I said earlier, Burn After Reading really does feel like a Seinfeld episode just in feature-length form because ultimately, it’s a story about nothing and everything at the same time. This is what makes it so unique and why it’s different compared to the Coen brother’s other films.

I’ll be recommending that you check this out since it’s also out on Netflix in Australia and the United States. If you haven’t heard of the Coen brothers and have been living under a rock, then do yourself a favor and fix that immediately. See it.

Shoot ‘Em Up Movie Review

shoot em up

See it. 7.5/10

“Tit for tat, Mr. Hero. Tit for tat.”

One word can simply describe this movie: fun. There is so much to enjoy here in terms of action that it’s just fun, fun, fun, fun and more fun. It’s safe to say, I loved this film. I can throw it on anytime and immediately know that it’s going to be a great time because of how silly and hilarious it all is. But that’s all largely thanks to the fact that Shoot ‘Em Up knows to not take itself seriously at all and instead, focuses purely on upping the stakes each time and always being as much fun as it can. Oh, did I mention that it was fun?

Right from the beginning, Shoot ‘Em Up brings you in to tell you exactly what it’s going to happen and what you’re getting yourself into. I’m a fan of how this sequence quickly sets up the tone for the rest of movie and from that point; I was up for the ride it took me on. It’s also a sequence that might very well have one of the best and memorable opening action scenes in film history and that aspect alone should be enough of a reason to give Shoot ‘Em Up a watch. In terms of trying to picture what you’d be getting yourself into without divulging details of the plot, I’ll sum up the necessary expectations for what this film will deliver.

Shoot ‘Em Up is essentially a fast-paced action movie that is intentionally ridiculous but also really cheesy and which combine together to give you some of the most fun action sequences you’ll ever see.  And if you’re a fan of the Crank series, you’ll be loving this.

One of the main aspects of the story that I really enjoyed, was the fact that every action scene was stepping up its level of intensity and stupidity. Just when I thought a particular fight scene or ‘shoot em up’ confrontation was so ridiculous, the next one would then up the game to a new hilarious height. It’s this fact that also made me not mind that most of the action scenes were being cheated, given I am a huge fan of how Jackie Chan’s style of work is inclusive of open wide shots that show every blow landing without faking it. At least the action that does come from Shoot ‘Em Up is intentionally meant to look ridiculous and as the stakes keep getting higher, it also makes it increasingly fun to watch as it goes on. For this reason, I can’t really fault it from a technical level because it’s not really trying to take itself seriously as a dramatic action movie in the first place.

Much like my appreciation for the Crank movies, once an action film like this becomes self-aware of how ridiculous it is, I can quickly ignore most of its other obvious flaws and soak it in purely as entertainment. Shoot ‘Em Up works because of the story’s sole focus on being fun, similar to also how I felt for Mad Max: Fury Road, which is a great experience to see on the big screen because of how boisterous the action is. Do these films have that much of an intricate and thought-provoking story? No. But they don’t need to because it’s so much more entertaining in other respects such as humor, action, and character.

For these reasons, Shoot ‘Em Up lies as a guilty pleasure on my list of favorite movies and is one that I easily recommend to anyone who’s interested in watching an exciting action film. It’s everything it needs to be and there’s not much else to say because it’s a fairly simple film. But just it’s simple, doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t surprising as I had no sense of guessing just how much the writers were willing to continually raise the stakes in terms of action and I was always glad when they did. Shoot ‘Em Up is by far a hidden Netflix gem for those in the United States and I can only hope that it gets distributed for those in Australia one day soon. See it.

Frances Ha Movie Review

frances ha

See it. 7/10

“It’s after three. I can drink.”

The story of a young adult trying to find their purpose in life is an age-old fable that is used in a lot of films (Boyhood, Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting). At least with Frances Ha, the characters are very witty and original enough to spin a new twist on an overdone premise. These traits also make the film play out as a comedy and were often aspects I enjoyed laughing towards, as the character of Frances is quite the charming entertainer. Even if the jokes are often at the expense of Frances’ own miserably skewed life, which does follow a predictable path like all other films like it, Frances Ha has enough going for it that I have no qualms in recommending you see it.

Which are all thanks to the performance of Frances by Greta Gerwig who also co-wrote the script alongside director Noah Baumbach. Her character almost feels like an extension or exaggerated version of herself and it was clear that this role was not only incredibly comfortable for her but one that she clearly enjoyed playing. I got the sense that this could very well be a visual portrayal of how Greta Gerwig’s own young adult life was at that same stage as Frances because her performance felt that believable and real to me. The character to actor combination was a perfect match and without her performance, the film wouldn’t hold up as well as it did.

The best part, however, comes from the humor and wit that are placed within the story. Aside from the punchlines of jokes, I was a fan that the style of comedy lent itself to an observational tone. It was almost akin to that of a Seinfeld and even Woody Allen-esque because often moments in this film held jokes that were just about nothing important to the story and were witty remarks about a tiny detail. In fact, this whole film felt like one giant filler for time that is set up for laughs about small things in life and not on aspects of the bigger picture. This also smartly reflects the whole theme around Frances’s life as a young adult who really has no ambition to do anything meaningful in life because she’s afraid and doesn’t have much clue on what to do as an adult. So instead, she just meanders on peacefully, drifting from day to day and makes witty remarks much ado about nothing. And it worked for me.

Frances Ha isn’t anything amazing but that’s also sort of the point it’s trying to go for. This doesn’t make it flawless because it’s intended to have flaws, but it does make me respect its purpose a lot more. Yes, it’s another one those coming of age films but at least the focus is on a character that’s much older and is in her late twenties, compared to just confused teenagers that harbor a lot of angst. And for the most part, I also found it fairly humorous which is an aspect that a lot of other mainstream comedies fail to even come close to *cough* The Boss *cough* Bad Moms *cough*. I don’t have much else to add except that Frances Ha is out on Netflix in both Australia and the United States, so I recommend you give it a watch now that it’s easily accessible. See it.

Okja Movie Review 

okja

See it. 8/10

“Have I ever given you a boring show?”

I feel like these words sum up the master behind the camera Bong Joon Ho, whose latest film Okja is yet another fine example in his impressive filmography. For those unaware, the South Korean director is also responsible for films Snowpiercer, Memories Of A Murder and The Host (and no not the terrible US version). So, having heard his new film was produced under Netflix, suffice to say I eager to see it and unsurprisingly, I was not disappointed. Okja is a touching but also a charmingly funny film that balances humor with elements of a story that can also be very bleak to watch.

I raise these juxtapositions of attributes because the story focuses on the friendship with animals and the counter side to society’s often grim reality for those species that we love to eat. When I watch any film that is centered around man’s relationship with animals, I’m typically expecting it’s going to be fairly melancholic because hey, the track for animals so far hasn’t been that great *cough* Marley and Me *cough* Blackfish *cough*.

But whilst Okja isn’t afraid to present those sides of the story because let’s face it, the truth of the matter is hard to angle in a non-negative light otherwise, Bong Joon Ho creates a story that has a lot of wonderfully fun aspects to it, and that elevates it as a story that isn’t just another rehash of what we already know. I don’t like to kill cows, but I love to eat their meat, so how can one make a story that balances those elements and doesn’t just present the dark reality to make me feel like absolute shit all the time? Well, Okja manages to do it.

And it does so mainly with many engaging characters. The film has some incredible acting talent behind it with Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Giancarlo Esposito, Paul Dano and Steven Yeun as the main stars, and I enjoyed seeing them all play roles that supported each other nicely. I will highlight Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal’s characters, who were just so eccentric, interesting and funny that every time they were on-screen it was a blast to watch them act. I also really liked how their characters changed over time and how new layers were added to them.

I also want to highlight that the story’s unique concept which was coupled with the talent of its director. There’s a lot of distinct shot choices and blocking where the characters were meant to be placed, which was all great to see. Every scene had a reason as to why that particular person was sitting with her back turned from the others or why the camera was placed from a distance to emphasize visually the feeling of being alone on a character. It wasn’t just basic shot reverse shots of people talking, which is an aspect I hammer on about in other reviews, so I’m glad I can highlight a film that doesn’t do that and why it’s so much better because of it.

Okja is a rare case that tackles a difficult subject which can so easily be led down a dark alley with no real hope and manages instead to shine some humorous light towards it. Yes, I will admit that by the end of the film, I was quite moved from watching one of the final sequences which still hits me right in the feels every time I think about it (goddamn you Bong Joon Ho). But I also remember the wit and comedic commentary that’s present, and that makes me smile. I had a blast watching this film and I’m glad Netflix gave $50 million dollars for Bong Joon Ho to do whatever he wanted and I’m recommending you watch it when you can as it’s out both in Australia and in the United States. See it.

Mulholland Drive Movie Review

mulholland drive

See it. 8/10

A neo-noir mystery classic.

With Mulholland Drive set to be released on Netflix Australia, what better way to celebrate a David Lynch classic than a review of this fine film. Starring the delightful and powerful Naomi Watts, this neo-noir mystery film is both expertly written as it is intelligently directed. Being a fan of David Lynch’s famous Twin Peaks series, Mulholland Drive is a film that like the TV show, will leave you with strange and questioning thoughts long after you finish seeing it. But damn is it ever interesting to watch.

I’ve come to really admire the way David Lynch’s mind works because any one of his works are not only very unique but they’re also incredibly eerie. The way he fuses elements of mystery with the absurdly supernatural and experimental, have made him a famous director ever since the birth of Eraserhead. And trust me, if you ever watch that film, you’ll see exactly what I mean by the sense of weirdness from the unconventional and bizarre aspects its story encompasses. But thankfully Mulholland Drive is more traditional (to an extent) and is why I think it’s also one of the most accessible films that he’s made.

Not only do you get the classic amount of strange and weirdness that comes with a David Lynch film, but also, a great story about an upcoming actress, which is played by Naomi Watts. I really loved her commitment to the script and throwing herself out there into this peculiar and often purposefully confusing world created. Not only can she act very well but she also showed a great deal of trust and flair to believe in this strangely woven story and delivered all her lines to perfection. Had she not been cast in the leading role, I doubt I would have taken anything that happened in this film seriously and instead would have been laughing at the unintended ridiculousness that could have occurred.

Thankfully instead, I’m very much engaged with the plot and am constantly trying to figure things out as they happen. At no point did I know where the story was ending and there are certain aspects of the narrative that completely came out of the blue. I was both surprised and intrigued and at times even confused, which is not a bad thing. It all added to the mystery elements of the film and is why I am a fan of David Lynch. Nothing’s black and white like say a Steven Spielberg movie, and I’m left long after wondering what the hell it all meant.

Mulholland Drive for me represents one of David Lynch’s finest pieces of work. It’s so well shot in terms of the lighting, with disturbingly eerie scenes often being done in the dark, so the attention to detail to make this work is clearly evident. I also enjoyed the uses of continuous takes that didn’t just remain stagnant from one angle but instead moved to different positions for whatever the scene catered for. These are all signs of a great director and aspects that I thoroughly recommend future filmmakers take note of when it comes to making their films.

As I said in the introduction, Mulholland Drive will be out on Netflix in Australia by the end of this month, so if you’re feeling the need for some modern neo-noir mystery; I can’t recommend this movie enough. It’s strange, bizarre but ultimately entertaining. See it.

Samsara Movie Review

samsaraSee it. 8/10

Planet Earth encapsulated as a movie.

Just like its name has meaning with the words “wandering” and “world”, Samsara isn’t really a film but rather an experience. It’s a non-narrative documentary which doesn’t have any dialogue nor a conventional story but this is a movie that captures real life at its core. It focuses on presenting us various aspects that make up the world and society around us, akin to a documentary-like feel of BBC’s Planet Earth series but without the narration. Instead, you just get simple, beautiful and raw images. And it’s fucking amazing.

Filmed over 5 years and on a 70mm format, Samsara’s greatest achievement is the technical presentation of showing some of the best cinematography of our world. It’s why I also love watching the Planet Earth series because everything looks so goddamn incredible and when you watch Samsara, the experience is heightened if you can watch on a Blu-Ray format. But what makes it as equally interesting, is the focus on showing a range of aspects of society and not just pretty pictures of animals. From viewing mankind’s advancements of processing computer parts to handling chicken food production lines and then the wonderful nature shots of the night sky upon a sandy desert. A large part of our world is encapsulated and it’s gorgeous candy for the eyes. There’s a particular shot from the film that depicts a distant wide shot of the Muslim pilgrimage around the wailing wall in Mecca that’s just amazing to see.

What’s also great to see from Samsara, is the numerous close up shots of peoples faces from all over the world. These will just play out with them staring at you and not saying a word, allowing you to infer the stories behind those eyes and the life that they live. This is also thanks to the specific choice to present them in such a way, which adds to the clever nature of the film. Because though there isn’t necessarily a conventional story, in a way it is portraying to you a glimpse at the stories of many. And by doing it simply through raw images with no dialogue, you base your opinions and gauge your understanding of what you simply see. This film is like the most beautiful presentation on the phrase “judging a book by its cover” but just by focusing on the visuals in the eyes of the people, you can infer a tremendous amount about them.

I also loved that certain sequences were placed next to each other that would give additional commentary to how we work in society. Juxtaposing a beautiful shot of nature against a man-made manufacturing process is done intentionally to make me think about the world but not in a way that’s forced down my throat by a narrator. I see the images presented and I can judge for myself whether I think this is right or wrong, what is real beauty and what is not and questions so forth. It’s nice that it all was edited and delivered in such a subtle way that didn’t overly push forward an agenda but still had a coherent enough structure.

My one major gripe with the film is with the runtime. At an hour and forty-two minutes long that has no dialogue and no conventional story, the pretty pictures can get somewhat boring after awhile. I would have loved if it was shorter but regardless, I see why they chose to show so much, especially since it took 5 years worth of production to get this footage. I’d imagine the editing process to scale down the number of raw files to the final edition would have taken an incredible amount of time so I am appreciative of the fact they want to show it off. But nevertheless, it’s a slow burn of a film throughout, even if it doesn’t look spectacular.

Ultimately I’d highly recommend this to people who are a fan of planet earth type series and don’t mind the fact that it has no narration or conventional structure. Yes, that’s a bit of a niche market but even if you don’t think those aspects of the film would be for you, I’d still recommend seeing it because it is such the experience. It’s a great and fascinating insight into how the world not only looks from various perspectives but also how it currently works in society. A technical masterpiece with some of the best cinematography and a film I wouldn’t mind watching again just to simply gaze at the beautiful wonders it presents. It might even remind you of how amazing our world can be sometimes. It did for me. See it.

Dear Zachary Movie Review

dear zachary.jpg

See it. 9.5/10

Have faith when I say the words, this film is incredibly moving.

But before you think of looking up anything about this movie, stop. I’ve even cut short the full title about this movie because it acts as a bit of a spoiler as this is one of those movies that will truly hit you the more you know nothing about it. Dear Zachary still holds for me the saddest movie that I have ever watched. I don’t tend to rewatch it but I can’t help recommending it. It’s one of the best documentaries that exists and its subject matter was delivered with such a gut-wrenching effect that it moved me. As much I hated feeling that melancholic, I love this film.

What works about Dear Zachary is the absolute attention to the human element it focuses on. The people you are introduced to all have very real emotions behind them and heartfelt reactions to what is depicted in the movie, which really made me connect with them. It was like I was there in the interview process with the director and I was being moved in real time with the person telling their story. That was the power of how engrossed I was with the subject matter and the focus on the lives of these people.

Technically, the film’s direction doesn’t do anything different to that of a standard documentary. But because the people the director has chosen to focus on have been expertly employed, it makes it a fascinating film. Everyone’s emotionally engaged with the subject matter and the stories they tell are stories that need to be told. Everything is just so powerfully resonant and lovingly done, which goes back to why I was moved so much by this film.

I also really enjoyed the way the film was edited because it added to the whole emotional journey I was on. I had no clue where it was going to go and I wasn’t prepared for the feels it gave me. There are many ways they could have edited this differently that wouldn’t be as suspenseful or as purposeful to the message it wants you to take away and I’m glad they didn’t do so. Because what it is left is the best version of the product and an incredibly moving masterpiece of a documentary.

Dear Zachary is thankfully out on Netflix in the United States but needs to be out in Australia soon, as it’s a movie that deserves more recognition than it’s getting. It’s by far the saddest film I’ve ever seen, and the most emotionally potent documentaries made. It won’t get you hot and bothered about a political issue or a multimillionaire dollar corporation. But it will make you cry. Watch it when you can and see it.