Spling reviews The Worst Person in the World, Top Gun: Maverick and Long Weekend 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 dark comedy romance drama, a war action thriller and a romance comedy.
Starting off with a film now on Labia Home Screen…
THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD
A young woman navigates the troubled waters of her love life and career.
Director: Joachim Trier
Stars: Renate Reinsve, Anders Danielsen Lie and Herbert Nordrum
The Worst Person in the World received two Oscar nominations for Best Screenplay and Best International Feature at the Academy Awards. Divided into chapters, the comedy romance drama explores four years in the life of a woman trying to figure out who she really is. The Worst Person in the World features a lead whose raw honesty is refreshing, presenting a complex character who is unapologetically herself. Playing open-handed for the audience, Julie’s instincts and decision-making around expectations of her as a friend, lover, partner and employee create a negative space that helps define the character through the seasons. An artful film, not unlike The Square, it branches into some curious, eclectic and experimental filmmaking as animated, dream and freeze sequences play out. This bold undercurrent drives the provocative and thought-provoking drama as it veers from amusing family dynamics to wayward infidelity and the prospect of mortality and new life. The Worst Person in the World is fueled by an unassuming yet headstrong lead in Reinsve. Diving headlong into some surprisingly dark scenarios, leading debates on free speech and constantly testing boundaries, this soul-searching 30-something comedy romance drama does its utmost to overturn tired clichés. Flitting from bittersweet comedy to angst-filled existential drama, it’s an entertaining arthouse rollercoaster, juggling a range of emotions. The Worst Person in the World reveals a complex and flawed character with uncommon intelligence and insight. While this incisive portrait has emotional resonance, the experience is somewhat alienating, as it becomes more and more difficult to empathise with Julie. A timely exploration, the frayed connection doesn’t stand in the way of an elegantly mounted and thought-provoking slice-of-life art film.
A solid 7!
Moving on to a film now on Showmax…
TOP GUN: MAVERICK
A top naval aviator must confront the ghosts of his past when he leads elite Top Gun graduates on a do-or-die mission.
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly and Miles Teller
This high impact sequel is credited with reigniting the big screen experience and hunt for summer blockbusters… and it’s hard to argue with its almost 1.5 Billion dollar box office takings and six Oscar nominations. Cleverly tying in with the original film some 30 years later, this action blockbuster integrates many of Top Gun’s trademark elements, from the Danger Zone theme to reuniting Maverick and Iceman and picking up on the Goose tragedy. The world is fully realised, finding Maverick pushing the limits of aircraft testing as an experienced daredevil pilot. Cruise has come a long way, emboldened by the Mission: Impossible series and performing many of his own death-defying stunts. The visual effects in Top Gun: Maverick leave little doubt in our collective imagination, capturing the sleek fighter jets and aircraft carriers with precision, further enhanced by exceptional sound design. The sequel sees the return of Val Kilmer in an emotionally-charged space, introducing Miles Teller as Maverick’s special project with Jennifer Connelly stepping in for Kelly McGillis. Top Gun: Maverick is a perfectly-balanced sequel, powering up on the advances of modern filmmaking without losing echoes from the past. While there’s a distinct sense of the familiar in returning to the old haunts, the filmmakers keep things fresh without Cruise’s front-and-centre journey and character portrait getting in the way of a rollicking good time.
An excellent 8!
And finally a movie on Showmax…
A down-on-his-luck struggling writer meets an enigmatic woman.
Writer-Director: Steve Basilone
Stars: Finn Wittrock, Zoe Chao and Damon Wayans Jr.
Long Weekend is so much more than a romcom. Leaning into a similar space to Before Sunrise, the indie film relies on engaging dialogue and co-lead chemistry. Long Weekend may not have the verbal dexterity and life-like dimension of Richard Linklater’s classic but its charming co-stars help light the way. Dealing with mental health, there’s a psychological component to Long Weekend as Bart and Vienna fall into the giddy headspace of a runaway romance. Joining them on this high-spirited adventure is part of the fun as a chance encounter turns into a sparkly relationship filled with promise. Trying to get himself out of a rut, Bart’s newfound inspiration seems too good to be true, remaining elusive as the young writer tries to unlock some of her mysteries. What follows is a suspenseful mind game where Bart’s new love presents doubts as Vienna dodges his attempts to discover the woman behind the manic pixie dream girl façade. Teetering between real and unreal, sci-fi and drama, Long Weekend presents an ambiguous love story that keeps you guessing. A modest indie romance drama, Basilone trusts his charming cast and curious genre-bending romance. While it pales in comparison to Before Sunrise, it harnesses a similar soulful energy as layers are gently peeled away. The surprise twist may irk viewers expecting a more predictable romcom, but the film’s sense of humour, smoldering mystery and artful execution go a long way to overcoming its shortcomings.
A satisfactory 6!
So just to wrap up…
THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD… a forthright lead and intelligent script compel this artful, experimental and thoughtful inside out comedy romance drama… A solid 7!
TOP GUN: MAVERICK… star power, smart reinvention and first-class audio-visual effects fuel this stirring and handsomely mounted action drama sequel… An excellent 8!
LONG WEEKEND… charming co-leads, artful direction and slow-burning intrigue enhance this entertaining and wayward indie romance comedy… A satisfactory 6!
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