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Midsommar (2019)

Being one of the best looking movies I have seen in the past decade, I think Ari Aster is certainly someone who can and will change cinema history. He has an eye for beautiful scenery and styles and shoots them in a way that feels so significant to the plot. The visual imagery throughout is integral and the aesthetics of the film thrust you into the experience as though you are observing a true life event rather than watching a film. The use of colours and composition is of such a quality that I haven’t seen done since the early age of Tim Burton. It feels groundbreaking and is the thing I enjoyed the most about this piece of cinematic art. Nothing puts his directorial skills on show more than the bathroom transition scene. The seamless transition from the bathroom in the flat to the bathroom on the aeroplane is just one of the key examples of his eye for perfection in cinematography. The way he flips the camera upside down during the driving scenes to show the crossover from normality into a world of madness is flawless use of symbolism. These are just a few of the reasons I think he is a master of his craft and lets us know he is a director to take note of. Aster seems to be one of those directors who has the gift of extracting the best from his actors. Everyone involved provides nothing but a note worthy portrayal of their character. I initially considered Jack Reynor's portrayal of Christian to be rather unconvincing, however as his character unravels it becomes clear that he is untrustworthy and deceitful, so in fact his unnerving manner that I initially thought was a shaky performance was in fact an exceptional portrayal of his character. The ability to provide that level of conviction is not only testament to the actor but Asters ability to write and develop such intriguing characters that are so convincing. At one point or another, everyone involved and the decisions they make all feel relatable, which is just another element of the writing that makes the experience visceral as viewer. For all this films big climactic moments nothing was more impactful for me than the scenes of the murder suicide in the first act. This scene for me was just as powerful as what Aster did with Toni Collette in Hereditary. The use of the war siren overlaying this is so anxiety inducing, then to add in the screams of Dani and screeching violins makes this almost unbearable to sit through. Although this is only short in duration, it felt like an eternity and for me was the shining moment in this whole production. Such a strong opening set the bar high for what was to follow. I watched this with my wife, who (knowing my understanding, interests and cinematic preference) in the must subtle way possible suggested that the intention of this film may go over my head, as at times as the writers artistic exploration of spirituality and human psychology is so elaborate, thought-provoking and endless, I may lose interest in the plot and struggle to connect with its purpose. I think she was right. For me personally, I found it all to actually lack purpose and meaning. I may be in the minority but I genuinely found this to lack in substance. Other than the odd moments of shock value and the obvious beautifully directed cinematography, it was a real effort to stay engaged. Or should I say I was engaged until the introduction of the cult. This is certainly in the love it or hate it category that unfortunately for me fell slightly flat. Coming off the back of Hereditary, this had big boots to fill and I think it struggled. I think my biggest gripe about Ari Aster films is the lack of rewatchability that they hold. They are very intense and very long, requiring a lot of patience for the pay off. Once that pay off arrives and as outstanding as it always is, I never once walk away thinking I can't wait to sit down at watch this again. Hereditary is one of the most impactful films I have seen in years but I’ve only watched it once. I can honestly say as visually stunning as this film is, clocking in at 2 hours and 51 minutes I will be never give this a rewatch.


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