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Joey Lauren Adams
A famous filmmaker works on his next film, which will focus on monstrosity. He is obsessed with the idea of finding a painting that will be central to the film and will crystallize all the power and beauty of monsters.
Somewhere along the mid-19th century American East Coast frontier, two neighboring couples battle hardship and isolation, witnessed by a splendid yet testing landscape, challenging them both physically and psychologically.
An unmarried young couple, Kaia and Andrew, are renovating Kaia's secluded family estate. Their lives are violently disrupted upon the unexpected arrival of Kaia's half sister, Christine, and her fiancé, Ira. Prior tensions and jealousies burgeon as new alliances form and childhood patterns resurface. As the days grow darker and the nights more disturbing, Kaia is forced to confront Christine's increasingly tangled perception of reality, which in turn may have begun to alter her own. When one of the four characters goes missing, the three left behind are flung into upheaval trying to fill in the blanks.Written by
The filmmakers here make sure the viewer gets to see lots of nudity and explicit sex, perhaps to divert attention away from a weak and unfulfilled storyline. The movie has some decent performances and maintains an air of intrigue throughout, but I was constantly frustrated by its seeking shock value rather than giving us serious explanations of apparent dark secrets in the characters lives.
The film is almost entirely shot with 4 actors, and set in a forested and isolated New England town. Gitte Witt, as Kaia, is trying to renovate a home she inherited from her recently deceased father, and living with her boyfriend Andrew (Christopher Abbott).
One night she receives a late night call from her estranged half sister Chris (Stephanie Ellis), asking Kaia to pick her up at the train station. They were once close, growing up in the same house with their father (they have different mothers) but apparently a horrible occurrence happened that caused this estrangement. When Kaia picks her up, Chris tells her that she is pregnant and has not told her fiancé Ira (Brady Corbet) where she went. We also find out Chris is a sleepwalker, and has been so since they were quite young.
Ira is informed of her whereabouts and he appears the next day at the house. The remainder of the movie will pretty much center on the drama and tension in the interpersonal relations of the four characters. Unfortunately, it came across to me as increasingly contrived and it became more and more uncomfortable to me to watch it all play out.
The Norwegian filmmaker Mona Fastvold makes her feature film debut here, and she also co-wrote the script with Brady Corbet, who as mentioned portrays Ira in the movie.
All in all, aside form the psychosexual theatrics that play out here, it seemed to me that many of the anticipated resolutions of the dark past never really occur and when we do get one near the very end it seems weak and leaves too much hanging in the air.
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