Meewella | Critic

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Tag: Kyra Sedgwick

QuickView: Villains (2019)

“This is a hell of a predicament we find ourselves in.”


A dark and off-kilter comedic take on home invasion horror, Villains veers between the surprising and predictable but its unsettling central performances are a delight to watch. Trimmed of any fat, we join a petty criminal couple mid-robbery, spending just long enough to appreciate that they ill-prepared but besotted with one another (reminiscent of Pulp Fiction’s Pumpkin and Honey Bunny) before moving to the house in which the remainder of this bottle movie is set. Jeffrey Donovan and Kyra Sedgwick bring a delirious Coraline-esque creepiness to the owners, all artificial smiles and crazed eyes, whilst also providing a warped glimpse at a potential future of the younger couple. The weak link is the tonal inconsistency in a script that never quite knows what it wants to be, so feels at times like a pastiche of its influences. Nevertheless, light acting and direction provide a deft gloss over darker themes, leaving Villains entertaining if insubstantial.


QuickView: The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

The Edge of Seventeen poster

“There are two types of people in the world: the people who naturally excel at life, and the people who hope all those people die in a big explosion.”


The best coming of age stories do not simply speak to those going through the transition, but allow adults to reconnect with that period of their youth. Writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig’s wonderful debut demonstrates an ear for the naturalistic wit in sardonic teenage dialogue without the artifice of Juno. Socially awkward Nadine is self-involved, disagreeable and at times even casually cruel, but Craig still allows us to sympathise with her experience. This relies heavily on Hailee Steinfeld’s fantastic central performance, humanising Nadine’s positive and negative traits with warm humour, and granting an emotional weight to those teenage experiences that feel life-or-death at the time. I have not been closely following Steinfeld’s career since her arrival as the wilful young girl in True Grit, but I certainly will be now. Woody Harrelson is notable in a supporting role as that rare, patiently understanding teacher on whom any outsider relies. With the exception of Boyhood (which really is a different beast), The Edge of Seventeen is the best example of the genre for some time.


"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."

(CC) BY-NC 2003-2023 Priyan Meewella

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