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Some people may have not have heard of director Gaspar Noe.
To give you some aid, I would say Noe is a mix of Darren Aronofsky, Nicholas Winding Refn, Dario Argento with a touch of Stanley Kubrick.
In a nutshell, the Argentinian's style is closer to that of French cinema as he has lived most of his life there. His films are usually designed to unsettle you whilst making it looking very stylish.
While Noe's films are never perfect, he always makes interesting movies with a unique look to it.
The trailer certainly gives you an idea of the vibe and is probably one of the best put-together trailers of the year, as it does exactly what a trailer should be. It shows you some intriguing content without explaining what the story is about. It instantly got me excited even though I had no idea what it was about.
Firstly, it opens with something that a lot of films pre-1970's did and that is start with the credits. That was a nice touch and after seeing the film, it felt we were dipping our toes into a film where the structure is incorrectly pieced together.
Then obviously at the end, once the story is over, that's it and the lights fade back up.
There is an amazing opening dance scene that is brilliantly choreographed not just from the dancers but from the cinematographer as well. It's quite a way to begin our story. Book marking that is our best chance of finding out about our characters.
It's a tricky one with that particular aspect of the film. Whilst in the end, the characters are not that likable, I saw hints of sympathy towards them which was helped by a solid introduction to them in the first act as you notice their strong personalities. After that, there is little development to be had. It's more about the chaos that is happening in the second and third acts and the style that is taking priority. I must say, the descent into madness is quite something. At first, it is quite gradual. But once we see the first of many shocking moments, it just becomes one big nightmare that for some reason we just can't stop looking at.
Calling it Fame mixed in with Requiem for a Dream would be the simplest summary I could make and could well best way to describe it to general audiences. But there is so much to talk about with this one.
I think everyone did a fantastic job with the performances. Considering almost all of them are just dancers, it's amazing that Noe got so much out of them.
The only notable actor I noticed was the brilliant Sofia Boutella, who I think is one of the best physical actors right now after her work in Kingsman: The Secret Service, Atomic Blonde, Star Trek Beyond and was the best part of the disappointing The Mummy. Boutella has a fair few stand-out moments including one scene where her characters goes completely insane and it felt reminiscent of James McAvoy's almost out of body experience in Split.
I loved the way the camerawork by Benoit Debie. The long camera shots and that twist into all sorts of angles perfectly encapsulate our characters various stages of insanity build up. By the end of it, it is hard to fully see what is going on. But that never seems to be an annoyance as it maintains that nightmarish vibe from the second act.
Also, the soundtrack perfectly matched the tone and I would happily search for the songs used in this.
I don't really have any negatives to speak of. I think the lack of a strong story and character development will prevent it from being in best of the year list as I feel that to be a far superior aspect in a film that what is concentrated more on in this.
However, what is fully utilised on screen is certainly something to experience on the big screen.
If you are not aware of Noe's style, then be prepared for this to be a tough and at times unpleasant viewing. But if you love a film that is never afraid to experiment in a unique style, then you will love the many routes this goes down.
I think Noe has done a great job with this. To make something that is both beautiful and horrific is quite a talent and he maintained that vibe throughout.
While it might not go into any depth at all with its story or characters, it certainly makes up for in its style, cinematography, shock value and many dance scenes.