REVIEW | Don’t worry darling | When the plot is not enough

REVIEW | Don’t worry darling | When the plot is not enough

Don’t worry honey (28%) it is a well-executed if poorly written and edited entertainment product. Recent criticism is stubborn in denigrating it for expectations that journalists formulated around it more than for its own demerits. The central problem of the film is that the anecdotal, imaginary and theoretical ambitions surpassed the narrative skills of the screenwriter, the editors and the director. It is supported in a favorable way, yes, by the successes of the other professionals who participated in the production and sound editing. I would like to begin by pointing out salient points.

The premise of the plot confronts technology and intimate life with an expensive demon of civilization: power. To the case, the power in a couple relationship where the reality of the loved one is controlled. a very version BlackMirror of gas lighting (1944), from George Cukor. Don’t worry honey (28%)then, is related to films like Matrix (87%), Dark City (74%)13th Floor (1999) and The Forgotten (31%): Reflect on the world we already have, where sinister beings transfer their shadowy desires and thirst for control to virtual places. The players of League of Legends, world of warcraft, Roblox, Fortnite –all prototypes of the metaverse–, they will not let me lie: it is chilling what people can do in those worlds.

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It could also be thought of as a sinister version of what michel gondry presented in Eternal Sunshine Of A Spotless Mind (93%). Wilde exposes a danger: some lovers make criminal decisions when they avoid losing their partner. The stew she prepares is called “female terror” and includes: a) fragile and toxic masculinity, b) technology, c) deep love for a partner, d) fanaticism and e) “don’t leave me” psychopath.

These ambitions are echoed in some film skills of those involved. photography of Matthew Libatique It is clean for most of the film. Contrasts a pastel patina of overexposed textures that eliminate imperfections –both in the daily life of the suburb and in the dream sequences–, with the ocher tone and the dim light of the parallel world. The design of Victoria’s streets and its architecture reminds us of certain urban planning derived from minecraft, The Sims or even to some places of Second Lifepossible clues of what this reality entails for those initiated in said metaverses.

The production strikes precision and control. There is a prudent management of resources, well-assembled frames, sustained cameras mixed with abrupt cuts, lyrical and dreamlike sequences filmed with grace and irrefutable proof that the director knows how to communicate chaos and harmony visually, with a precious touch to the film. Tom Fordas betrays in his reference to the kaleidoscopic dance performances of Busby-Berkeley. In fact, it is in the hallucinations that Wilde’s lyrical vision is best manifested. Creative freedom worthy of attention is noted, as in the sequence of the eggs, that of the oppressive gate or when he reaches the top of the barren mountain. There is indeed cinema, luminescence that saves the film from falling into the emptiness of talking about the plot instead of narrating. The weight of the home prison in the psyche is very well represented to give way to his vision of the house as an extension of unconscious gulags.

Wilde’s visual arts and camera dynamics intensify the discourse of subjection that becomes urban planning: a “perfect world” that is eminently conservative, sexist and clichéd. As we have recently seen in movies where the metropolis is the monster erected by dictators, criminals and pernicious powers that subjugate the resident (Batman (85%), Love without barriers (100%), Belfast (95%), The Origin (86%), etc.), more than a stage, the city is evidenced as an enemy to defeat. Materialize the nightmare. The way in which Wilde films with aerial shots, and tracking shots, walks through the suburb and surroundings, reminds us of Blue Velvet (93%) without messing with it at all.

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The director chooses her sets in the golden age (adored?) that many Americans exalt, the one that has Truman as its leaders (he blew up two atomic bombs on the Japanese – the most drastic lightning genocide in History – and began the warlike incursion into Vietnam ); Eisenhower (exterminated 1.7 million prisoners of war); Kennedy (he received a Pulitzer for a book he didn’t write, won elections supported by the mafia, promoted the Bay of Pigs fiasco for his obsession with assassinating Fidel Castro, and fueled the Cold War); and Johnson (he rose to power while dealing with investigations for violation of government contracts, another for prevarication, another for money laundering and one for bribery). Here, who shines with the costume design is arianne phillips.

Utopia within dystopia: nostalgia for moments in which the United States was the most miserable with the rest of the world, while the middle class of this nation lived inside the bubble of the spectacle. (And they did not have social networks.) The director adds to the diatribe of this historical episode, placing it as the pinnacle of petty heteropatriarchy, diligent with the domestic slavery of women —seen as a servile, submissive and sexual entity. The cars, the hairstyles, all the pristine characterizations. She paints an illusion of control, order, and “social perfection.” Only sect speeches that Chris Pine (Frank) recites with eloquence and terrifying sociopathic conviction.

The music of John Powell it is the best articulated next to the design of the scenarios and costumes. His rhetoric focuses on building a score with songs that have harsh contrasts, with a panting loop, between percussive beats that erupt with arrhythmias and anticlimaxes. His priority was to intensify the oppressive environment with uncomfortable voices that haunt Alice (Florence Pugh). The score consists of a pompous composition that intervenes at decisive moments. Although the narrative crumbles with excessive platitudes, Powell’s score remains intact and manages to feel overwhelming and awe-inducing. The melodic line is barely noticeable between the electronic disruptions of false percussions and voices that go from minor tones and laments to murmurs and gasps that are confused to place pain and discomfort next to pleasure. We couldn’t expect less from someone who has made one of the best children’s film soundtracks: How to Train Your Dragon (98%).

Florence Pugh is in charge of carrying all the dramatic tension, both due to his own talent and dramaturgical defect. Wilde focuses the theatrical force on Pugh as a driving force. However, he weighs in the construction of her universe, since it becomes unilateral and difficult to manage everything from the face of an actress when there are landscapes and characters that could be better exploited. Despite the episodes of hysteria that force her to excess in her gestures, everything about her remains justified. So much so, that when Pugh has acting profusions, she devours those who interact with her on set, including Chris Pine.

None of the secondary or co-star characters, nor that of Olivia Wilde (Bunny), Harry Styles (Jack), Gemma Chan (Shelley) or Chris Pine manages to stand out because they are not delved into within the script articulated by Katie Silverman (Set It Up: The Imperfect Plan, The night of the nerds (100%), Isn’t It Romantic). A little, perhaps, the character Margaret, played by KiKi Laynethanks to her spectacular facial expression in the shots that the director dedicates to her to emphasize a revelation/rebellion in her gaze. Olivia Wilde he has his character’s affectation for most of the film. However, in the climatic moment that catapults to the conclusion, his histrionics demerits: he does not achieve the emphasis that such a hysterical moment deserves.

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The acting direction was pasty, deficient. The clear example is Harry Styles, singer and not an actor by trade, who depends on the characterization of his character so that changes in tone or personality are noticed. A tense histrionic display was offered, opposite to the rest of the film when we see Jack beyond the “perfect” universe. One would expect from Wilde, she is an actress by trade and with experience in that field, focused on giving weight to the co-star when her character has a complex psychology. (The most twisted minds are the hardest to draw.)

Where the biggest problems are seen is that both the script and the editing seem poorly structured to achieve the effect I was looking for. This is a typical topic of criticism, but the truth is that half an hour or forty minutes less would have made the journey easier. It seems that the editors and the director were not critical enough during the synthesis. Hence, such an ambitious purpose and with elements that were offered interesting as I pointed out at the beginning are ruined. The plot is simple and its premises are fascinating, but in narrative, whether literary or film, the complex lies in the way things are told.

The script commits the same sin that ruined the first part of season four of Stranger Things (98%) and that makes me nervous Christopher Nolan in The Dark Knight Rises (87%) either Interstellar (71%): They start talking and explaining in a didactic way what is happening because, of course, the viewer is surely stupid.

The order of the factors matters and the way of introducing the dramatic setbacks looks clumsy, almost beginner. Alice’s anagnorisis, as much as Pugh took great care in her performance, feels gratuitous, incongruous. I won’t give details because #spoiler, but you guys will tell when you see it if it’s not. The reverie had been managed with all the law by Wilde to keep the mystery and leave cryptic clues; but when the heroine finally discovers the farce, the event turns out to be puerile, a crude solution. We don’t see the pain of loss (Stockholm syndrome aside, she herself declares her love for Jack). As if that were not enough, the female characters, when the consequent hysteria spreads, apparently become stupid and are left reading in the middle of a critical moment. Bunny behaves in an erratic way more inconsistent with what happens.

In addition, the number of loose ends and elements introduced for no apparent reason make us imagine that this film was finished in a hurry or was not well conceived from the beginning. As I was saying, Anton Chekhov, “a loaded rifle should not be brought into a scenario if there is no intention of firing it”. Here there is a whole arsenal without shooting or taking advantage, almost for decoration. including the voice of Harry Styleswhich could have accentuated the trigger for the anagnorisis with an equally hallucinatory episode like the daydream.

I recommend seeing it in cinema for the music of John Powell and the visual display of the film. Don’t worry honey (28%) it turns out to be a well-executed popcorn film, with a weak, clumsy script and an equally poorly worked edition.

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REVIEW | Don’t worry darling | When the plot is not enough