Spling reviews I’m Thinking of Ending Things, The Nightingale and The Sleepover as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Listen to podcast.
Good morning – welcome to Talking Movies, I’m Spling…
This week, we’re talking about a mystery horror drama, a period adventure drama thriller and a family adventure comedy.
Starting off with a new release on Netflix …
I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS
Full of misgivings, a young woman travels with her new boyfriend to meet his parents at their secluded farm.
Writer-Director: Charlie Kaufman
Stars: Jessie Buckley, Jesse Plemons and Toni Collette
– Charlie Kaufman is the antithesis of commercial film.
– Going back to the arena of live-action after the life-like brilliance of animated feature, Anomalisa, I’m Thinking of Ending Things has a similar layered and abstract effect to Synecdoche, New York.
– The story drops a trail of pop culture references as clues in an effort to connect scenes and offer some continuity, however, even the most seasoned film detectives will struggle to follow what’s going on.
– The story makes complete sense through the first act and then progressively becomes detached and floats away as reality becomes permeable and reflective.
– Two fantastic co-leads in Buckley and Plemons enjoy fuzzy chemistry in a tonally dexterous art film that could be described as Before Sunrise meets Eraserhead.
– I’m Thinking of Ending Things is a beautifully constructed art film, laced together by strong performances, compelling writing, a deep-rooted mystery and an unpredictable journey of discovery.
– The alienating, surreal, unpredictable and unsettling feel echoes David Lynch while the experimental, fantastic, quirky and eclectic zing recall Wes Anderson.
– Much like contemplating an artist’s painting on the wall, your appetite and approach will largely dictate your appreciation or tolerance for it.
– It’s so refreshing and niche that ardent movie lovers may find satisfaction in being unsatisfied.
A solid 7 on the splingometer
Moving on to a film now on Showmax…
Set in 1825, a young Irish convict woman and an Aboriginal tracker hunt ruthless British soldiers through the rugged Tasmanian wilderness.
Writer-Director: Jennifer Kent
Stars: Aisling Franciosi, Baykali Ganambarr and Sam Claflin
– Kent is the writer-director who brought us the chilling psychological horror, The Babadook and The Nightingale echoes her bold cinematic voice.
– This is a challenging viewing experience, deeply political, uncompromising in its vision and intensely brutal in its representation of colonialism in Australia.
– An examination of revenge and violence, we bear witness to the atrocities of a seemingly lawless society where imperial British troops treat convicts and indigenous people as disposable objects.
– It’s a harrowing and gut-wrenching watch, summoning up rage and raw emotional power but speaking to the injustices of the past and their reverberations in the present.
– Kent harnesses explosive performances from Franciosi, Ganambarr and Claflin, resting on these pillars to offer a focussed, unfettered and naturalistic vantage point.
– Set against the lush natural vegetation and forests of Tasmania, there’s a sweeping poetic beauty beneath it all.
– It’s difficult to identify a specific target audience, given the severity of prejudice and violence, which makes you question the level of brutality but the film still feels necessary and important.
– Unflinching in her vision, there’s a beauty to the humanity that wells up at the centre of the lead pairing’s relationship as The Nightingale’s haunting song threads its way through this vivid, powerful and unsettling period adventure drama thriller.
An excellent 8 on the splingometer!
And finally another film new to Netflix…
Two siblings team up with their friends to rescue their parents over the course of a sleepover.
Director: Trish Sie
Stars: Sadie Stanley, Maxwell Simkins and Malin Akerman
– The Sleepover is a fun, mindless and silly distraction and a blend of Modern Family, Spy Kids and Date Night.
– Modern Family is a hit sitcom and you can actually imagine this scenario happening to the Dunphys as a doofus dad and supermom are kidnapped after a home invasion.
– Uniting two charming siblings as they track their parents through a series of clues, there’s a hint of Spy Kids with some typical spy comedy sequences.
– Catching up with a suburban married couple who don’t know each other as well as they thought, the hot pursuit and silliness recalls Date Night.
– The Sleepover is powered by charm, fun and silly comedy quips as the escapade escalates over the course of a night.
– It’s far from perfect, summed up by one unflattering evening dress and possibly restrained by its budget and a few missing pieces due to some heavy cutting.
– Sporting a few unnecessary characters and staggering through some storytelling flaws, it manages to get by on its wink-wink charm as a lightweight amusement.
– Sometimes its just fun to unwind with a bowl of laughs and some bubbly entertainment.
– It’s not going to blow you away but works as breezy escapist fare for most ages and is enjoyable enough to give it the benefit of the doubt…
A satisfactory 6 on the splingometer!
So just to wrap up…
I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS… strong performances, a mercurial tone, layered storytelling and artful sentiment guide Kaufman’s alienating meditation… A solid 7!
THE NIGHTINGALE… a powerfully-acted, naturalistic, political and unflinchingly brutal exploration of prejudice and violence in 1825 Australia… An excellent 8
THE SLEEPOVER… while flawed, it remains a light, breezy and fun family adventure comedy with a charming young cast… A satisfactory 6!
For more movie reviews, interviews and previous Talking Movies podcasts visit splingmovies.com.
And remember, Don’t WING it, SPL!NG it!