Sunday, July 21, 2024

‘Poor Things’ mixed reception

By Kolin Kriner

“Poor Things,” directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, is a whirlwind experience that brings a miraculous adventure verging on the depths of beautiful and creative, yet at times boring. 


Emma Stone, who portrays Bella Baxter, is the shining star of this movie with her whimsical yet risque performance. The character is complex as you watch her growth throughout. 


Other eccentric characters in the cast include Dr. Godwin Baxter, played by Willem Dafoe, and Duncan Wedderburn, played by Mark Ruffalo. Both deliver an entertaining and radical performance bringing much of the humor and drama to this movie. Despite these remarkable characters, they aren’t enough to save this mess of a movie.


The plot is hard to follow, if there even was a plot to follow. The film moves extremely fast, despite its 2-hour-and-12-minute run time. The movie is full of back-to-back  scenes of chaotic depictions of what can be described as the driest humor and erotic imagery edging on the brink of being pornography. Many interesting concepts are introduced in the film that simply get lost in this storm of ideas. 


Besides the messy plot, the cinematography and score of this film are phenomenal. The movie feels so old adding so much drama to every scene through its use of wide shots and its 1.66:1 aspect ratio. There are constant switches in camera angles, delivering beautiful showcases in terms of lighting, accompanied by the film’s gorgeous set and costume design. The film utilizes beautifully painted backdrops, adding to the vibe that you are watching a movie from the early 1900s. The movie begins in black and white and slowly embraces its color the more Bella learns and grows, creating a beautiful symmetry between her growth and her surroundings. 


In terms of everything but plot, this film is phenomenal. Bizarre, wild and dry, yet so captivating. This movie feels like it was made with a true love for filmmaking. The film pays a lot of homage to “Frankenstein,” (1931) adding a modern twist to provide an experience as shocking as a chicken with a dog head. 


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