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The Suspect (2013)
Had potential but unrealism and twist ending ruined it
The first 3/4 of the movie were interesting, and I could have given it a 6 or 7 out of 10, but several things didn't sit well that made the film a far stretch even for a movie..
The premise is basic. Two college professors perform a "sociological experiment" in several midwest towns, seeing just how prevalent an undercurrent of racism is. The context of this is staging a bank robbery in very small towns where there are no other African-Americans and one guy rob the bank, then leave the other guy on the side of the road to be found by the police. Then comes an interrogation where the potential prejudice/racism can come out. It becomes justified as an "experiment" and they get pardoned from jail to go on their merry way because 1) the money gets returned and 2) the "experiment" context (ie potential for the scenario being published) leaves the sheriff embarrassed enough to let the suspect go.
The first big problem I was bugged by, throughout the entire film, was that if you rob a bank, it's a crime. Even if you give the money back. Even ATTEMPTED robbery is a crime. Obviously, there's no specific evidence of who robbed the bank (wearing masks, long clothing, etc), but the moment your partner shows up at the sheriff with a bunch of money that comes up to the amount stolen from the bank, you'll get arrested. Embarrassment aside, you've committed a crime.
Secondly, the theme of racism comes up many times but I fail to see how the behavior is racist. If you happen to show a bit of dark colored skin while robbing a bank and there are no dark skinned people in the town, then a dark skinned fellow is on the side of the road outside of town under ambiguous circumstances, it's a logic conclusion, not racism. Racism would be looking for an African-American suspect and stopping every African-American in town when there is a certain percentage of such. Using overgeneralized identifiable information on a selection of the population. But if a midget robs a bank and there are no midgets who live in town and then you see a midget on the side of the road who can't come up with a clear alibi, then you're going to conclude that the midget did it. That's just logic. It's almost like this movie was trying to overdo the race theme for some cheezy after-school feel-good purpose.
Third, in a town where people are genuinely racist, they don't talk as politely as these sheriffs do. They throw out the N-word like it's nothing. These people's behaviors was not racist, it may have been prejudiced to an outsider, but his skin color was not a factor except that it shared identifiable information to the bank robber which no other citizen in the town could identify with. But that's a minor issue.
The ending had a double twist. First, the partner never made it to the sheriff station, with the money. So enough of the situation is explained to the sheriff so they end up going on a search for the missing guy and his car. Turns out it ends up over a cliff (are there even cliffs in the midwest?), and the partner is dead. The money is in a bag, and the sheriff insists on the money first, pulled up via winch. They're apparently going to keep the money and say they let this fellow go (surprise!)
The problem I have here is that this supposed college professor of psychology never gave question to giving the money (his leverage) to the police. Granted, the money in the bag was counterfeit. But with the winch gone, how would the guy ever get back to safety? It seemed like a long ways down.
This somewhat reveals the second twist. Or perhaps there are three twists. The money they return to the bank is counterfeit. Did nobody care enough to check the serial numbers? OK, maybe that doesn't matter. Apparently they are "fake" robbing banks under the pretext of a university sociological experiment so as to acquire enough money for - surprise - the guy's dying daughter (ie black market organs from Argentina). They switch the real money for some counterfeit, and keep the real money.
Except this is where the final - and perhaps sappy - twist comes into play. The cops take the supposed bag of money and then douse the guy stuck down a cliff with gasoline, then set everything on fire. Except the guy never bothers to get up. He just sits there, screaming, in the fire. He doesn't seem to care. He doesn't bother moving, or trying to survive. Seems really stupid. And this is where the final sappy twist comes into play. He dies, and he has this life insurance policy, that pays out $8 million that can then pay for his dying daughter's black market organ/surgery! Sappy ending.
Maybe I'm the only one who caught it, but I don't see how the ending is plausible AT ALL. First off, the guy was telling the sheriff his FRIEND'S name, ie "Freeman Finch". Yes, they both died, but seems that they got burned. How can anyone be identified? Who would bother informing the insurance company? These fellows manipulated and conned the cops, so it's in their interest to pretend they don't exist. I guess maybe to close the case on the robbery they had to explain that these guys died in a car crash. How the tire popped and lose control made no sense either. What's ironic is that part of the movie's appeal is the race card played against the sheriffs, except it really was played against the movie watchers, because they really were keeping the money.
3 Days to Kill (2014)
Great/fun movie, some people just don't get it
People need to realize that this is a Luc Besson film. The guy who wrote both The Transporter and The Fifth Element. This movie is like a mix between the two. The funniest parts were when Kevin Costner's character ended up befriending the men he was supposed to kill, so he could get their advice regarding his daughter.
A good amount of action, heart warming moments, and fun/humor. Similar to Knight and Day with Tom Cruise or This Means War with Chris Pine/Tom Hardy. People seem to have expected another Jason Bourne and this is supposed to be fun, not serious.
But it's not so tongue-in-cheek that it's like Naked Gun or something. I liked it to the point that I'd watch it again.
It's thorny but doesn't end off as bad as all the other reviews would have it
I have to say that I really don't understand where any of the other reviews are coming from. Everyone is way off.
I got the impression from the reviews that Natalie Portman's character was a bad person. But she (and the stepson) were the only likable characters. She may have made a few mistakes with the stepson, but where anyone got the idea (especially the idiotic husband/father) that she somehow wanted to harm the stepson, it's really uncalled for and disturbing to watch. So she made a mistake about feeding him dairy when he was lactose intolerant - she thought the ex-wife was being an overprotective witch and tried calling out on that matter. So she let the boy ice skate without a helmet. He had a thick hat on and he had fun, didn't get hurt, and they actually bonded. The attacks on her quality of step-parenting is way out of line.
I don't understand how anyone could think she was vicious to people because of losing her baby. Maybe Natalie Portman played the character differently than in the original novel. Maybe the script was translated poorly. I just didn't get the feeling that she was a bad person at all, nor did I get the feeling that she was lashing out at anyone unjustifiably or that she was projecting her grief onto others through rage. She wasn't at all.
I would characterize this movie as thorny, but things start to clean up near the end. I was expecting a downward spiral toward devastation based on the reviews and that didn't happen. Things didn't magically turn wonderful but things did start to turn around for the better.
The times that Natalie Portman's character lashed out at others was justified at the other person's poor behavior. She got angry at her stepson when he kept forcing the idea of selling the deceased baby's possessions on eBay. I can understand that, it's insensitive for him to say. She also lashed out at her own father for his infidelity in the past, and that, too, was justified. He cheated on his wife (her mom), and nobody had actually shown any anger at him until then. How anyone could say that she has no right to be angry at her father is beyond me - her mom was hurt, and children can take on that pain as their own, to be protective.
She was a decent stepmom and I don't see how anyone could say she and her stepson had a difficult relationship. That was entirely a projection of the ex-wife's viciousness onto her, through the son. It made her seem like a neglectful stepmom, but she was a good one as far as I'm concerned. The ex-wife was just vicious, beyond bitter. Apparently the young new wife broke up the marriage but my impression was that the marriage was already over with.
As the movie progresses, the step son starts showing empathy toward the stepmom and deceased baby sister and so he starts developing a more likable character. The husband really is just cold and never really actually shows empathy or care toward the wife. He never really sides with her and finds every opportunity to side against her. He's of course dealing with the viciousness of his ex-wife, but he doesn't stand up for his new wife nearly as much as he could/should, and projects some of that negativity onto Natalie Portman's character. He is soon to reject her and let the marriage fall apart than actually be forgiving toward her struggles. There is a certain bias that he seems to have that she is worth discarding and a difficult woman to deal with, but I really don't see how that is justified. The only love that I could see in this movie ended up being between the boy and his stepmom. Everyone else was just so cold. Maybe that's just bad acting, bad script, I dunno.
In the end, the boy overhears her worries that she somehow smothered her baby, and he asks his mom (the ex-wife), who happens to be a doctor, about the matter, and the ex-wife patches up the bridge by investigating the matter to reassure her that the baby did die of natural causes.
This movie reminded me of the film "A Serious Man" by the Coen brothers, that had a very distinct Jewish cynical theme of the victim being blamed for the tragedy itself, when everyone else around them is the problem. I don't know if this is a theme in Jewish culture, but it's a bit disturbing.
The movie is definitely a bit thorny, and character behavior does seem out of place or projected incorrectly. Maybe on purpose, maybe a certain Jewish cynicism, maybe just a messy script-from-book to work with. Like A Serious Man, it may not be something you can watch more than once, because it may just be too emotionally difficult/tumultuous.
Teenage Dirtbag (2009)
Has a distinct amateur after-school TV movie feel, awful storyline
I hate to give this movie bad ratings, but it felt extremely amateur and poorly put together. I suppose with it being "based upon true events", that the story was a bit limited in it's flexibility. But maybe I'm a bit too used to fairy tale endings that I thought this story might have some sort of more meaningful story arc. It really did seem like it came out of real life because it wasn't some magical ending. The whole story was weird, haphazard.
This isn't a love story. Let's get that straight. That's my first disappointment. There was serious potential for a "star-crossed lover" theme but that didn't happen. It kept hinting at that over and over but the female character kept doing the shallow self-conceited thing to do and ruined the storyline potential.
You have this dysfunctional boy from a severely abusive family, and this popular girl with everything she could want - great grades, money, a big house, a boat on a private dock, etc. And yet she is this horrid person. Through the story you are given the boy's perspective at home with his abuse and you can't help but feel for him, and you start to see a sympathetic/redeeming side to him. But the girl is just too shallow to really develop their hidden bond into anything real. It tears him apart that he bares himself to someone and she just doesn't respond in a way that validates his worth as a human being. So he gets aggressive, cruel, mean, etc and she pushes away. Not a very interesting story. Realistic, perhaps, but if I wanted to see people being shallow to each other, I'd actually go back to high school.
The story telling was just awkward. The actors felt amateur. The music was interspersed at the oddest times, way too much music, too loud, trying to hard to manipulate mood, etc. You start out with the female character in her late 20's, pregnant, and hearing about this old acquaintance that seem to have died.
Flashback to high school, there is a definite tension of his dysfunctional/shock-seeking behavior. The girl is a shallow conceited cheerleader. Nowhere along the line do you show her growing and caring, etc. She ends up being not likable regardless of the fact that she's the narrator. Maybe you were supposed to like her, but I didn't.
The boy and her start with some hump of high school conflict/tension/class-warfare and befriend each other for an hour out of the day in the privacy of study hall. They dare not actually befriend each other outside of anything. She sure doesn't try to be nice to him. She goes on her merry conceited selfish ways while he tries to open up to at least someone who might show some compassion, sympathy, care, let alone some wild chance at love. Not an ounce of any of that. She befriends him secretly but quickly pushes him away and drives him to lash out. If she wasn't the selfish type, maybe he might feel like he could let go of his aggressive obsessive behavior, but she doesn't and it gets worse. In that sense it's maybe a "real life" type of feel, but nobody wants to see that kind of story in a movie theater. It gets uncomfortable as his behavior becomes more obsessive, and she just pulls away.
The weird present-day pregnancy storyline seems to only be thrown in there in some cheese-factor attempt at explaining how she honors this acquaintance of hers, by naming her baby after him. I have to be brutally honest that it feels pretty lame put in the story.
I kept hoping that as the story progressed, that something would show this bond as meaningful, like they hooked up, he happened to be the father of her unborn child, etc. NOPE. The bizarre thing is that there's a scene where after high school he brings up the idea of faking his death. So she spends a bunch of time later trying to investigate what happened, convinced that maybe he isn't dead, but just hiding. However, once she finds the sister, that subplot gets dropped. They chat for a bit, then the scene cuts to her in the hospital with her baby and the sister watching from the doorway. The baby's wristband says the boy's name (as a namesake), and that's it. The end.
I could overlook the cheesy music, the bad acting by the secondary characters, pointless dialog (despite the realism), etc... but the story was just not memorable. It wasn't something that grabbed my attention. I didn't feel like I cared about what happened. Good stories and good movies get you attached to the outcome. This movie did not. The writer/director also happened to play the sister in the film. I can appreciate that she may have put a lot of work into the film but it just wasn't good/captivating storytelling. At all. In fact, there were many instances where the story could have veered off into a different, more interesting and enjoyable direction, and it went in the opposite. The one accomplishment of the storytelling was changing your perspective from liking her and being creeped out by him to caring about him and hating her. Beyond that, it failed. It could have at least explored the futility of star- crossed lovers in this extreme white-trash vs elitest combo, that would have felt more interesting. But the movie didn't even bother trying.
I suppose I got entirely spoiled by watching a star-crossed lover type of film "The Spectacular Now".... and that set my standards really high, I was expecting something similar from this film and felt at a loss with how amateur afternoon-TV-special this felt.
The Spectacular Now (2013)
Left me in awe
HOLY COW I am in total awe over this film... I will have to watch it at least two or three more times....
Imagine a wounded and bitter teenage boy with a flair for self- destruction, and yet the hint of a giant heart underneath it all, living with avoidance, hiding from the pain of feeling worthless from a mess of a father who left him long ago... and the "plain jane" girl he meets that somehow together they have this awesome chemistry... somehow he brings a certain passion for living that she is attracted to.
You just know that the guy is a prick and you spend the whole movie waiting for him to ruin the only good thing to come his way, hoping (suspensefully) that he does the right thing. You don't know until the very end, how he quite deals with his baggage, if he can face his pain and feelings of failure and decide to grow up rather than always run away from it all.
Let's just say that the ending is touching and that there's hope for him, that he's not the lost cause he thought he was, and that he begins to start recognizing that. This is the story of quite a few teenage boys out there, any teenage boy with an absent or distant father. Not every teen boy may harbor such self-deprecating feelings of himself, but we all definitely have felt drowned in our own sorrow, pain, fear, anger that "dad" wasn't there to love us through.
You can relate it to anybody, that maybe even for the most broken of us, that somewhere underneath all the pain and self-destructive behavior is a raw and tender heart that can do and be good, even amazing, in this life. That you do have a choice to let go of the pain and choose to be that loving sensitive person instead of hating yourself so much.
The story was written well, there is a curve ball about 3/4 of the way through the film that will catch you off guard, and puts you in the emotional mindset of the boy. It's almost as if in his own self- destructiveness that he pushes his unconditionally loving girlfriend away and in an instant shockingly almost loses her entirely, as if he was being damned (or taught a lesson) from a higher power. We just hope it sinks in.
This story definitely has relevance today. There are way too many wounded men who shut themselves off from the pain simply because they don't have a clue how to deal with it. So they shut themselves down. There are women who get involved with these guys and it's sad that many women are so big-hearted that they overlook serious flaws in their men. You can't help but think that the girl's forgiveness/dedication in this film is a bit naive and dangerous for her own good. It's up to the man to grow up and deal with his baggage, otherwise it will bring the woman down with him later on. It's hopefully some sort of inspiration to the troubled boys/men out there to break the cycle.
The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009)
Good except for major plot hole
This is just any typical Denzel action thriller except I was confused with the bad guy's greater motives. I kept thinking that there had to be ulterior motives than the obvious ransom. It wasn't about $10 million. Or was it? They added some element where the bad guy kept checking the stock market and was happy to see gold jump in worth. Why? Was he hoping to keep it? Wouldn't his identity being found out cause his investment/money to be seized? Why did he have such a death wish? Why work so hard to make a ransom work only to be glad that he dies in the end? It makes ZERO sense.
I kept thinking that he was wanting to die deliberately and had some life insurance policy or something that was backed by the price of gold or something - and had children who would receive a death benefit or something - but none of this was even mentioned. It just made no sense for him to care about making a ton of money if he was actually inviting himself to be killed.
I suppose that there is a limitation of what sort of potential can come of this, given the base material to base off of (a novel).... But perhaps the novel simply does not follow a conventional story arc, either. It feels like there are simply things brought up that hint at greater ideas that the screenwriters just dropped out of nowhere.
If you can ignore that, then it's a decent hour and a half to watch. A bit cliché at moments, but generally I still think there was simply not enough character development with the main bad guy. He was very erratic and some clues as to his source of bitterness were given, but either the story has a huge hole (why he cared about investing in gold) or the final resolution of his capture/death came totally out of the blue and doesn't fit within a conventional story arc. Bummer.
InAPPropriate Comedy (2013)
I don't get the bad reviews
I really don't get the bad reviews. This was hilarious. I think people must have thought it was supposed to be an actual "movie" with a plot, story, etc... but think of it like a mix of Mad TV (or Kids in the Hall) and Jackass. Don't overanalyze it or think of it in any other way.
It's corny and low budget at moments but some of it is incredibly funny, especially the "amazing racist" skits. Funny in a really horrible/inappropriate way. It's really like a mix of feature-length comedy skits, nothing more.
I really don't know if all of it was scripted, some of it scripted, or whatever. Some of the reactions seemed genuine like that of Jackass or Borat. I loved it. FUNNY! Often in dumb or horrific ways, but so what?
Odd Thomas (2013)
Peculiar movie, don't understand the rave reviews
This was a peculiar movie. Definitely did not fit the standard cliché "supernatural thriller" or "superhero" story. I really didn't know what to expect.
One thing none of the other reviews mentions is that there is definitely a cheesy teen novel feel to it all. Basically, the main character is likable from the first moment, by everybody, all the action goes into his favor, he has a supernatural gift that everybody seems to be okay with, and even the police chief seems to love him. He already has the girl of his dreams (boring). It has a certain infantile "everyday-hero" feel that is lacking the conflict in reality of how authority (ie the police) would find him nuts and his methods of dealing with these people he catches as vigilante. It all has a strong youth-oriented fantasy/make-believe feel. It seems like something a 13 year old boy could enjoy, but didn't feel very adult oriented. I find it bothersome, though, that it's just so easy for "Odd" to do his thing and succeed. It gives young viewers/readers the sense that life actually goes well/easily for those who do good and/or are weird. It's misleading to teens who are looking for some direction, that life is that easy. Life is hard. Being a hero is hard. Being accepted as different or 'freakish' is hard, in reality most people will scorn you as a freak for being different. Having an unusual ability is often a curse. Basically the total opposite of hero movies like the recent Batman trilogy. Either way, the hero's journey without the tribulation/struggle is not a full journey at all. But perhaps this movie was just trying to be a hip 'thriller' than some hero movie.
Everything worked out so well for "Odd" that it really didn't fit a typical hero story. You don't need to be an action movie to be a hero story. Any story with a 'good guy' trying to do something important (ie stop a mass slaughtering) is a hero story of some sort.
There was one scene that Odd was hauling a dead body of a 225lb+ man. I don't know if it was done deliberately, but it was laughable bad. The shape of the wrapped body (typical average build) was entirely different than that of the actual person (a heavyset guy). Blatantly a generic "dummy" inside. Then there is Odd's "super human strength" being able to pull this HEAVY dead body of a fat man over a ledge and then pick up the whole body with two hands, like it was a sack of potatoes. It was a really awful joke. But whatever.
Overall it was moderately enjoyable but I would not say remotely that it was something I'd see again. Not like something like Butterfly Effect or Sixth Sense. The corniness and total lack of conflict/struggle just rubs me the wrong way. After the movie I just don't feel like it's changed me in any way or that I've learned anything.
The twist ending is a bit unexpected given the otherwise corniness, but a bit cliché if you've seen enough psychological thrillers. A tragic twist to it all at the last second, just to yank on the viewers emotional nerves for effect I suppose. Not really any purpose on than to frustrate you with an ending you really did not want. If there is one formula it's following it's that a largely positive movie has to have at least one part to the ending that is tragic. I just found it annoying.
Whether it's true to the novel(s), I dunno. Its's definitely not what I expected, even not after reading the reviews. I thought it's worth warning other viewers, though, of it's peculiar beat. For those who don't have much tolerance for cheesy teen novels (Beautiful Creatures comes to mind), it might be worth passing on. But I'm sure there are those who love the stories and will love the movie.
Elsker dig for evigt (2002)
Low budget doesn't necessarily mean high quality
I probably am going the path of the contrarian here, but I really don't understand the high ratings here. I'm all for indie movies on low budgets, but this is just bad.
The fuzzy-focus, shaky-camera documentary feel of this movie is totally fine.... But whether it's deliberate or part of the whole Dogme thing, there is absolutely NO editing.
There doesn't seem to be any actual script either. It feels like the actors improvised their lines (which is OK) but without much preparation. Dialogue seems forced and unnatural, and you can tell that something is in the dialog because it was a plot point. The video jumps from one thing they say to something else. It was almost like the director was going down a written bullet list of things that need to happen or be said, and was leading them on to improv as they were being videorecorded. "Talk about how your daughter is in trouble", "Ok now cry", "Ok now shout", "Ok now run down the hall", etc... Only bits and pieces to a conversation were recorded, just enough to cover all the plot points, but not enough to seem coherent. The behavior of the actors were not smoothly transitioned from one cut to the next (despite it being only a few seconds/minutes later in 'reality'). It was all dialog without any mood. I don't think this is how people are in real life. It seemed more like 100 cuts of random small little independently acted moments rather than anything coherent. You can tell (whether deliberate or incidental) that the actors weren't paid enough to actually memorize lines (making smooth video scenes possible) and anything more than 15 seconds at a time being recorded.
It's just awful. Cuts are not smooth and honestly bothersome. Totally absent of any sort of emotional depth and exploration. The actors weren't allowed to really express much emotionally, it was more about the lines they were saying and the over-the-top reactions that seemed to be about as quality as a first year drama student.
The jumping around in dialog make it impossible to actually sympathize or understand any of the reasoning behind what is said. One moment Cecile calls Niels, the next moment he suggest buying furniture for her, then he goes to the supermarket just to have a conversation with her saying how he can't stop thinking about her and thinks he's in love with her. Absolutely zero emotional exploration or transition justifying how he feels. It's out of the blue. Later you see the two seemingly in love, in the middle of having sex, and then the hospital nurse calls to tell Cecile that Joachim finally wants to see her. She of course jumps to the occasion and the literal next scene is Niels in his coworker Finn's basement, implying that he must have moved out of Cecile's place - but without bothering to explain it all. Not even a conversation "oh Niels I'm sorry but I love Joachim and want to be with him".
About the best part of the movie was the acting by the supporting people - the daughter, Joachim, the wife, etc. They were more real-life believable. The main actors were just a joke, though.
Beyond all that, there was obviously no budget for a costume designer or scene designer. I couldn't decide whether Niels was a doctor or a nurse, with that plain all-white outfit that was clearly purchased at a department store. For all the time he was at the hospital, none of it actually was of him remotely doing a second of his actual work. So I could never figure out what he did there at the hospital. And just because he has an oversized cell phone from 1995 doesn't mean that somehow raises his status to some sort of doctor. He "must" be important with a giant phone! There was nothing 'real life' about moments that showed no actual every day actions (outside of the 'script') of people.
The dialog where it is first brought up that Joachim will be forever paralyzed is so made up that there's no sliver of authenticity. Not one line suggests anyone did any research as to medical conditions or even to what might a doctor say. Not one doctor actually said a single medical term or medical condition, no medical explanation as to what happened with Joachim physiologically. Not even something as simple as "his spine was crushed". With the car driving no more than 25mph, how he became paraplegic is beyond me. Not a single bit of dialog justifying his medical condition. Usually a doctor would at least start going into medical details once a family member starts asking about any hope/treatment. Awful.
I suppose there is some supposed "real life" feel, but it really seems poor quality. Blair Witch seemed much better. It's fine the car accident scene seemed totally fake, but it really is sub-par for all the actors involved. Low budget doesn't need to be void of intelligent/in-depth dialog, a thought out script, emotional expression, or reasonable editing. With the splices of so many small clips there is really no emotional or psychological exploration of the characters, or transition from one major set of circumstances (the two hanging out) to another (the two living together).
This is most definitely NOT Suzanne Bier's "best" as others suggest. All her other movies were light years better. I feel that Mads Mikkelsen's talent was wasted on this film here. Pretty much any other movie of his was far superior, and many of them were also low budget. With Lars Von Trier as the brainchild behind the Dogme rules, I can understand why this movie here is just awful. There isn't a movie of his I can stand. I otherwise really like Scandinavian films.
Morbid and amazing
I am not quite what to think about this movie..... The general synopsis is that it's about an 18 year old teenage girl named India and the uncle that has recently entered her life after her father dies.
They are both morbid and disturbing people and it takes a while for her to warm up to her unusual uncle. As the story goes on she starts to see just how disturbing her uncle is, and even though at first she is hesitant, eventually it helps her explore her own morbidity. There is a bit of an erotic theme including a saucy masturbation scene. Her sexuality really doesn't have to do with incest or anything but more of her connecting with her darker, morbid side. The movie has a seed of horror but not so much that you could consider it to be a horror movie.
It would seem that many people would question about there being many layers.... Of fantasy versus reality.... but I don't really know if that matters. I don't think there's a moment where it's obvious that the uncle either doesn't exist or is some fantasy of her imagination. Maybe, maybe not. The movie works well either way. There is some jealousy between the mother and daughter over the uncle's attention. The mother is a bit disturbed at their energy together. There is a scene with some morbid music where they play a duet that really strikes India to her emotional core, as if she's a bit overwhelmed that someone could understand the core of how she feels. The fantasy or reality of everything really doesn't matter, but the main theme is more that her disturbed uncle helps her embrace her own disturbed core. She definitely has a thing for blood and death. When her father was alive, he embraced that by taking her hunting frequently. There is some sort of quote that the father said to her once, that sometimes you have to help a person do something bad to prevent them from doing something worse.
The story is a bit unusual and doesn't quite have the typical arc of most Hollywood movies. That may be a slight flaw. The directing and especially the camera work are custom tailored to the morbid theme and I would definitely rate them 10/10.
Mia Wasikowska is impeccable as India Stoker. She's a very disturbed and morbid child, reminiscent of Wednesday Addams, minus the comedy. I had a certain unusual and morbid side to me as a teenager so I found her incredibly attractive. Her mannerisms are spot on, very quiet and cautious, with long disturbing stares and her head always tilted to the side. She was thrilling to watch and definitely attractive if you're into that kind of thing.