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has absolutely nothing to say

As M. Night Shyamalan illustrated early in his career, there are two main types of “big twist” reveals: the kind that reveals a whole world of possibilities and hidden meaning that you didn’t notice the first time around, like Bruce Willis being killed all the time. time in The sixth Sense (revelation?); and the kind that explains the action that comes before and boils it down to something a little more disappointing, a little more mundane, like discovering the town in The village it was not actually a 19th-century settlement threatened by supernatural creatures, but a facsimile of the one that exists in modern times, with no creature in sight. There’s a reason people loved The sixth Sense and no The village. One introduced the supernatural, the other killed it.

In do not worry honey, Olivia Wilde and her screenwriters (Katie Silberman; Carey and Shane Van Dyke*) present possibly a third type of big twist reveal, a type that exposes a previously captivating story as pure artifice. looking at do not worry honey (which at least gave us an entertaining press tour, God bless him for that) is kind of like an investment Pleasantville situation, where after the twist arrives, instead of suddenly exposing you to a world of vivid colors, it’s as if all the buildings in the city are suddenly revealed as movie set facades and the landscapes become painted backgrounds. Pinocchio turns back into wood and collapses to the ground, and the film continues for another 30 minutes as Geppetto unconvincingly throws in his voice.

Florence Pugh (who may or may not to have been feeling with her director on set) plays Alice Chambers, a kind of devoted Stepford wife to Jack (British pop star Harry Styles), who is so obsessed with his hot wife that when he comes home from work looking for a good roast beef dinner, throws Alice across the table instead, strips off her underwear, and eats another kind of good roast beef dinner (sorry about this). The two live in a planned community full of bungalow-style homes in what looks like Palm Springs, where all the men work on a mysterious Cold War-style defense project, and all the women spend their days drinking martinis, going to class ballet together and talking about their husbands.

Project Victory, the project and the city are called, are run by Frank (Chris Pine), who, with the support of his mostly mute wife played by Gemma Chan, gives men vaguely intimidating speeches and usually doles out patronage. like a king at court (or like a tech exec in much better clothes). Other than that, it seems like a pretty nice life: impeccably styled mid-century modern home furnishings, great soul music always on the turntable, rampant alcoholism usually sanctioned, and yet Alice can’t shake the feeling that Something’s wrong. Like the moment when she goes to crack some eggs to make her famous deviled eggs** and they are all revealed to be empty shells. what the fuck

Not once does the film bother to give those hollow eggs any meaning. Wilde only seems able to illustrate Alice’s growing restlessness through such visual concepts, repeating hallucinatory music video-style montages that convey only a vague sense of psychological trauma and nothing specific.

the cameras Crazy men Paradise gets weirder and weirder until finally Alice’s “technical engineer” husband gets a promotion, which he celebrates by doing a complete job. scat man tapdance routine on stage at the company’s exit in a poorly lit speakeasy. This is the last straw. We all know engineers can’t tap dance! And they definitely don’t have the perfect hair and sympathetic eyes like Harry Styles (you can understand how Olivia Wilde fell for him, ALLEGEDLY, which, if she could admit it, might point out that male directors have been doing it for years).

Alice once again runs off to the “forbidden zone” of Camp Victory where the hallucinations occur (the movie doesn’t really get much more specific than that), and an hour and 15 minutes into the movie, do not worry honey he finally puts his cards on the table. Without spoiling anything, the cards essentially say THANK YOU FOR PLAYING CARD GAEM in crayon.

do not worry honey it’s something like Matrixif after The Matrix was revealed, the movie did nothing to explain how The Matrix actually works, or how Neo was supposed to bring it down, and just kept yelling at you what was supposed to be a metaphor for a while.

us to know the film is about gaslighting. Which is already such a used term that it threatens to lose meaning. An ending where the heroine essentially yells “stop kidding me!” for 20 minutes is not an interesting way to explore the phenomenon, let alone develop these characters. It feels like the movie went from tone (here’s the premise, here’s the themes, here’s why it’s timely to tell) into production before it had a chance to become a story.

Which is a shame, because the cinematography looks great and the cast (Pugh, Styles, Pine, Nick Kroll, Kate Berlant, Kiki Lane…) are mostly acting crazy. It’s all very attractive, sexy and intriguing to the point. when he reveals that he has nothing to say.

* Grandson of Dick
**I’m really not sure if the movie knows that you have to boil eggs to make deviled eggs.

‘Don’t Worry Darling’ opens on September 23 in theaters across the country. Vince Mancini is in Twitter. More reviews here.


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