Holy crap was this a surprise! A good one, too boot! Unlike “old,” Shyamalan lands the plane with the help of a fantastic cast and tight narrative in this one! Dave Bautista separates from the pack of WWE stars turned actors as my current favorite. The breadth and depth of roles he’s willing to take on is promising compared to The Rock’s one size fits all persona and whatever we want to call John Cena’s trajectory at the moment.
Kristen Cui nails it as Wen, and really gives a nice dose of innocence to the screen amongst all of the malevolence and chaos. The supporting cast also does a great job of carrying their weight, but not being overbearing. It’s really well executed, and not trying to be anything it’s not, which I greatly appreciated.
You’ll be questioning reality as the lines between fact and fiction blur… like the edges of an infinity pool. See what I did there?
If you can make it past the strobe light orgy scenes and make it to the most uncomfortable bus commandeering scene… congratulations! You’ll leave the theater befuddled and slightly pissed off at the abrupt ending. This film leaves you feeling like your all-inclusive vacation was filled with nothing but Montezuma’s revenge and rain, only to have someone kick you in the nuts at the airport just as you’re about to board the flight home to safety.
Mia Goth absolutely kills it, but I do sometimes worry about her being pigeon-holed as “unhinged female lead who creeps everyone out” moving forward. From “X” to “Pearl,” and now this… it’s a danger. But in the meantime, she’s got a knack for it.
I think there’s a social commentary about tourism to poverty-stricken nations and abuse of locals, but again, it’s hard to get past the strobe light orgies to get that deep into the story.
Not quite “Seven,” but close. David Fincher at play in the sandbox he knows best. Causing the audience to wince at every twist and turn because we’re worried what’s around the corner. Or what’s in the box. A really solid psychological thriller, with a great score and shot perfectly to ratchet up the tension from beginning to end. I still didn’t believe the ending, even as the credits were rolling. I was waiting for one last rug to be pulled out from under me. The sign of a story well told and world well constructed.
*the bottom video was me through most of this one.
This score excludes everything after season 2. The first 2 seasons of this show are nothing short of brilliant, and the other Nolan brother at the height of his complex storytelling powers. The second two seasons made me sad, and left me not sad that they cancelled the show and took it off HBO Max. The premise, acting, and the twists of the first 2 seasons are amazing. The first season finale being one of my all-time favorite HBO episodes.
One of my favorite action sleeper hits. Costner and Cook have fantastic chemistry as the mentor/mentee in the murderous arts. Costner does a great job of portraying the struggle of leading a double life while also exuding a calm coolness almost the entire time. The twist at the end always elicits a cheer from yours truly. It blew my mind the first time I watched it.