Category Archives: A+

Review: The Blackcoat's Daughter

Director(s)Osgood Perkins
Principal CastEmma Roberts as Joan
Kiernan Shipka as Katherine
Lucy Boynton as Rose
Release Date2015
Running Time 93 minutes

This movie is not for people who like up front and immediate answers. It might frustrate some of you. For those of you like me, who love slow building and atmospheric horrors, look no further. The story follows the lives of three young women, connected by a series of events that you won’t be able to predict. One of the story threads follows Joan and Katherine, schoolgirls who both have found themselves left behind at their boarding school immediately after everyone else has left for Winter break. The former is a creepy freshmen with some serious quirks. The latter is a collected resourceful senior trying to deal with her own personal problems. The other thread follows Rose, a mysterious young women, looking for a ride to a destination city. Though both stories seem distinct, they both have that same ominous feeling that pervades and grows as the they intersect and interact with one another.

From the moment the movie starts, you know something is off. It’s a series of slightly strange scenes slowly followed by something just a bit more off. You can tell there’s something up but you can never tell exactly what that something is. This is compounded by the discombobulated story-lines which are cut and edited in a unique chronological order. It keeps you feeling disoriented but also makes the revelation of the mystery more satisfying. It’s not something you would normally expect, and the way the film subverts expectations is well deserved. Watching the movie a second time afterwards gives it a whole new eerie feeling and sense of appreciation for the way the story plays out. I know this all sounds ambiguous, but I don’t want to spoil the finer workings of each of the story-lines because the way that information is revealed is important to maintaining the shock value of the finer moments.

There are no cheap jump scares. Instead, there’s just an ominous sense of foreboding that culminates in the chaos that is the third act. The winter setting definitely helps create a sense of isolation. Everything is covered by a seemingly infinite snow. Information is never complete and understandings of situations become more nuanced. It’s masterful storytelling that focuses on showing rather than telling. The movie is all about the ways we try and find mind meaning in the face of a chaotic indeterminate universe. The way we try and find our place within it. What we’re willing to do to feel a sense of assuredness that we’re on the right path. These ideas all come together in fruitful ways, that can come off either nihilistic or existential depending on how you take it.

The performances from the three leads is something else. Roberts is great at being just creepy enough to cause concern but not so creepy that I get what she’s about. Shipka does a great job in being the quirky, awkward, and ominous Katherine. She strikes a balance between quirky and horrifying , which makes the way her arc develop that much more intriguing to watch. Boynton is great as Rose. She’s calm, confidant, grounded, and easier to understand than her counterparts. She’s a good anchor for the audience and keeps them level with the story. Each character is well defined, has a competent arc, and is interesting in their own right.

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TLDRIf you like slow paced, well built, psychological horrors that are eerie and evocative, you need to check this out. It starts off slow and might be confusing at first, but if you stick with it you’ll be rewarded with a truly one of a kind horror experience.
Rating9.5/10
Grade A+

Go to Page 2 for my spoiler-full thoughts!

Review: The House That Jack Built

Director(s)Lars von Trier
Principal CastMatt Dillon as Jack
Bruno Ganz as Verge
Release Date2018
Running Time 155 minutes

This movie proves immensely hard to review. I think I’ve written,deleted, and re-written it multiple times but nothing seems to really encapsulate the difficulty that is The House That Jack Built. The movie follows Jack, a serial killer with OCD, who recounts a series of his murders juxtaposed against a discussion of art, architecture, violence, and beauty . It’s a one of the kind movie that isn’t something everyone should watch.

The movie is brutal. Not just brutal as in gore. Brutal as in some of the scenes in the movie are genuinely depraved, intentionally made to just shock you and offend your senses. There are awful scenes involving animals and children. Some people might think the movie is overindulgent in its violence. It can definitely feel misogynistic , as each victim feels more and more like a caricature of women. They’re nothing like real people. The thing is, that’s the point. The excessive focus on these victims is artistic preference , not a larger commentary on women. Or is it? What counts as art? The movies violence is in service of questioning the very idea of what counts as proper art. Is it just pieces that follow the lines and dictates of a sensible society? von Trier and Jack decisively answer no, as they cascade through this bloody adventure.

The movie is edited in a way that makes the subject matter more thematically poignant. Jack narrates each of his murders in the first person to an unseen person, Verge. The murders play, but are accompanied by commentary, tangents by Jack, and cut-aways to “genuine” pieces of art. The movie is interspersed in between them, almost a provocation that the movie is high art in a similar fashion. The violence is “musical”. It gives the movie a strange documentary feeling that keep it feeling sophisticated, while also provoking discussion on the position of the movie in relation to what we consider aesthetic.

Matt Dillon is absolutely stunning as the lead. He captures obsessive disorder combined with quirky serial killer in a way that feels like sitcom gone horribly wrong. If you’ve watched Monk by Andy Breckman, then just imagine Adrian Monk + a bucket of murder maniac + two cups of art enthusiast and you should have a close enough picture of Jack. Without his nonchalant, eccentric attitude and prioritization of issues, the movie wouldn’t work. His performance gives the movie a dark comedic feeling. He does awful things, but the way he processes and acts in regards to those actions is hilarious. There are moments where I was shocked at the violence, and then within a few minutes I was laughing again. It’s messed up.

The way that von Trier approaches violence is both horrifying and depressing. The movie constantly reiterates that violence is kind of constitutive of all human interaction. The universe is uncaring and no one out there will really help you. The way the movie hammers the point is unrelenting and I was left feeling fairly alone in a weird existential way after watching. This is not the movie you watch if you want to feel good about life.

However, the violence at some point becomes too distracting. I was never bored during the movie, but I did struggle to understand the point of each story in relation to the overarching narrative. There are some horrifying scenes, yes, but they felt like they did the same thing thematically. Like I said above, some of the scenes are excessive in their violence. That’s kind of the point of the movie, but I feel like it felt overindulgent. It’s funny because Verge, on a number of occasions, would voice the concern I had about the movie during the movie, almost as if I was having a dialogue with von Trier. It doesn’t make me think the movie is less indulgent, but it makes me appreciate it more.

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TLDRThe House That Jack Built is as provocative piece about art, its limits, and the ever present violence in the world that seemingly never goes away. It’s excessive to the point of over-indulgence, but in a way that makes von Trier’s point nice and clear. Nihilistic and styled to a T – watch this movie if you can handle some real depravity that’s intended to offend. There’s a lot to think about underneath.
Rating9.8/10
Grade A+

Review: Tag

Director(s)Sion Sono
Principal CastReina Triendl as Mitsuko
Yuki Sakurai as Aki
Release Date2015
Running Time 85 minutes

One day while randomly browsing YouTube, I found an raw trailer for this movie and was left in shock. It looked cutesy but then devolved into seemingly disparate situations of violence. I knew that I had to see what it was all about, so I waited till it came out with subs and proceeded to experience an audiovisual piece the likes of which I’ve never seen before.

The story picks up on Mitsuko, a shy high-schooler who’s busy writing poetry as she and her classmates head off on a trip. However, soon after this start, a gust of wind comes through and kills everyone on the bus besides Mitsuko. Streams of blood and guts envelop the screen and Mitsuko is forced to run away from the wind to survive.

What follows is a story that never lets up with WTF moments and sequences. Every time I thought I had a grasp on what the movie was, it went in a completely different direction, each as violent as the one preceding it. If you’re someone who likes having answers immediately, then this movie is going to get under your skin. Answers only come near the end of the third act and they’re still ambiguous at that. It’s a movie that assaults the senses with gore and absurdity while dragging the audience at breakneck speeds through a story that seemingly makes no sense. However, once things start clicking, the movie becomes something else entirely. I was floored with everything I had seen. The movie takes a lot of risks and I thought they more than payed off by the end.

Without getting into spoilers, I can say the movie’s analysis of agency is interesting and provocative. Just like Mitsuko, the audience never has a stable foundation to begin to determine what is and isn’t real. That’s because those perceptions are conditioned not only by our perspectives of ourselves but by the perspectives of those who control the levers of society. If we’re taught that certain protocol is the only way forward, then it becomes easy to see how true freedom can become hidden away. Sono takes this idea and then wonderfully infuses both a queer and feminist subtext into it, giving the idea a sense of nuance that most movies can only dream of. Multiple people can watch this movie and all of them can come away with different interpretations (outside of the blatant message of the movie). Even now the ending gets to me and makes me really think both of the meaning of the story and the way I contribute to a society that strips people of agency.

Now for my more squeamish readers, you might want to watch this one with a friend who can let you know when the gory stuff is over. The movie is filled with splatters and grotesque murders. The first time I watched it, I had to look away a few times because of how visceral the experience would get. I think it gives the movie a really distinctive feel, but I can see how it could turn people away.

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TLDRTag is a movie that deserves to get seen by more people. It’s a masterclass in storytelling and has one of the most unique plots I’ve seen in a story. The way the mystery builds and resolves itself is shocking and thought provoking. If you like gore or art-house movies, you owe it to yourself to watch this.
Rating9.8/10
Grade A+

Review: Get Out

Director(s)Jordan Peele
Principal CastDaniel Kaluuya as Chris Washington
Allison Williams as Rose Armitage
Lil Rel Howery as Rod Williams
Release Date2017
Running Time 104 minutes

I’ll admit , as someone who actually went and bought Key and Peele Seasons 1-3 on Blu-Ray, I was more than a bit excited when I realized part of the duo that made “Substitute Teacher” was making a horror movie. I even kept myself away from trailers because I wanted to make sure I came into the movie fresh. When the credits started rolling, I was left floored. I couldn’t believe a movie could be this smart but digestible at the same time. Social commentary mixed real with horror is already not prevalent, but to take on neo-liberal racism? That’s wild. I have no doubt that in the next 15-20 years, horror fans will look back on this movie fondly as an all time great. It’s bold, innovative, and works on almost every level.

The plot focus on Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) as he travels with his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams) to her parents house in an attempt to get to know them. Everything starts off innocuous at first but it’s not long before things start feeling off. I didn’t know what the plot was going into my first watch and only really caught on when things started becoming more direct in the third act. However, on recent re-watches it’s almost obvious what the movie is about. There are hints littered in the dialogue, scenery, and visual cues abound. It makes you appreciate just how much attention when into crafting this story, and it all pays off.

The movie is shot and scored with a finesse I’m not used to seeing. The score in particular has a distinctive feeling to it. Peele’s extra effort in incorporating black voices into the music makes the themes of the movie that much stronger. Music that’s functional, thematic, and great to listen to doesn’t happen a lot. Usually it only serves one or two of the above so getting a score that does all three is something else. The fact that Childish Gambino’s Redbone plays at the beginning of the movie is genius. It sets the tone with the way it sounds and does the same thematically with the lyrics that play.

All the performances are stellar. The romance between Rose and Chris is done well and it makes their subsequent actions make a lot of sense. I can’t say more without spoiling anything, but a lot of the actors/actresses are required to emote varied and widely distinct emotional states. Once everything starts making more sense, you begin to appreciate the performances and character actions take on a new sense of meaning. It’s amazing just how much there is to unpack. However, I can’t help but mention just how great Howery’s performance is. He had me laughing myself to tears with his delivery and cadence and absolutely gave the movie some real levity in spite of the bleak subject matter.

Finally, what makes this movie a classic is just how nuanced its take on racism is. It recognizes that anti-black discrimination is not just present in outright demonstrations of hate but also in neo-liberal forms of fetishization. It’s not white people bad (there’s an Asian man in a scene for this very reason), as some reviews might lead you to think. There’s a lot to unpack here, but one thing’s clear. Racism is more than meets the eye and it’s folly to think it’s been resolved or has easily discernible limits.

My only issue with the movie is the presence of two random jump scares that are low hanging fruit. That’s it.

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TLDRGet Out is a masterpiece in storytelling. A fresh social commentary – the story is believable and shocking. The careful attention to detail makes multiple re-watches fun and entertaining. With an impeccable score and amazing performance, this movie is one of the best to grace the screens in the past decade.
Rating10/10
Grade A+

Review: Uncut Gems

Theatrical Release Poster

Well the hype is real. I feel like my life has changed. Adam Sandler is actually a phenomenal actor. I feel like everything I’ve seen from him up till now has been a prank . Still in awe. Also the Safdie brothers are geniuses and I need to watch everything they’ve done. If you can’t guess by now, Uncut Gems, is one of the best movies of 2019 and this past decade and had me completely floored by the end of the 135 minute run-time.

This movie is an assault on the senses and I mean that in the most literal way. The way it’s directed from the camera movement to sound design is meant to induce a state of panic and anxiety. If you suffer from those issues already, the film may be too much and I genuinely think you should go see it with someone even if you don’t suffer from them. Now that the warning is out of the way- holy wow. I thought I was losing it during the film because of the way sound would keep cutting in. There is auditory clutter that makes it feel like you can’t hear yourself think. It keeps you on edge and tense – you have to focus to get at bits and I felt like the movie was sweeping me along. There’s always something going happening on the screen so it feels like your senses are constantly befuddled. I thought it was perfect – I haven’t been this purely immersed in a film in a genuinely long time. I could feel my heart pumping out of my chest by the time I started getting out of my seat.

All of this synergizes perfectly with the plot which follows Howard (Adam Sandler), a jeweler who has a “bit” of a debt issue and a huge gambling problem. There’s a constant sense of tension as Howard traverses from one deal to another, desperate to keep the antagonistic forces coming for him at bay. There’s also a lot of comedy – from the dysfunction of different schemes playing out differently than imagined or just Sandler exuding persona. It’s a perfect complement to the tension at play. Speaking of tension – a lot of it revolves around the NBA. If you like basketball (or are just a huge Kevin Garnett fan) this movie has a lot of fun moments for you. I remember feeling excitement about games that happened years ago but almost like I was reliving them viscerally because of how the sport is talked about and utilized. On top of all of this, there’s ripe family drama and watching the dysfunction play out is more than entertaining. Watching all these intersecting threads come together is a delight and makes the story feel like a train-wreck waiting to happen.

A story is only as good as its characters and this film has them in spades. Sandler’s performance as Howard is mesmerizing. I was rooting for him the whole film, but the character is scum-bag with a heart of gold(?). However, Sandler adds a depth of nuance to that that makes him far more complex and grounded. He goes from caring father, to inconsiderate lover, to gambling addict. Each transformation feels in place and all of them come together to make one of the most interesting protagonists of 2019. This movie would not work without Sandler – if Howard was unlikable or unbelievable the tension wouldn’t be as profound because there wouldn’t be real stakes.

Thankfully, Sandler is accompanied by a slew of actors (some of whom are acting for the first time) who let him really shine and show off the range of his emotions. If someone told me that Kevin Garnett could act as well as he could play basketball before now I wouldn’t believe it. Now all I want is more movies with him. He’s cool and aloof at one point and fanatical the next – watching him tango with Sandler is immensely satisfying. Julia Fox’s performance injects some much needed levity to the movie – she never takes away from the tension – she just helps accentuate it with proper changes in demeanor. Finally, Keith Williams Richards is absolutely terrifying as Phil. The fact that this is his first movie ever is shocking – he absolutely sold the underlying crime portion of the story and amplified the tension every time he was on the screen. I want to mention everyone but that would be way too many people – literally even minor characters get more characterization in this movie than some primary characters in other movies.

This film is one of the best depictions I’ve ever seen of gambling and addiction. When the thrill is high and the game is at play, we feel like Howard- ecstatic. When he wins, I win – or that’s how I felt as I saw his schemes playing out. However, it works the same way with losses. Whenever something went wrong or could go wrong, I felt tense. Twitchy. Anxious. Since the movie aims to put the audience into the same mood as Howard, every twist or reveal feels that much more serious. It also becomes comprehend how someone could become completely lost in game. This is why the movie worked for me – I feel like I got Howard and wanted him to succeed in spite of himself and the situation he was in and I absolutely should not have felt that way- which is kind of great in a perverse kind of way.

Rating

TLDR: An absolute attack on all fronts – this movie is like a roller coaster that never stops and rarely slows down. Sandler is a tour de force and the Safdie brothers know how to keep the audience engaged.

Final Rating: 10/ 10. I was left speechless after the movie. There are so many beautiful scenes, funny moments, and terrifying

Go to Page 2 for my spoiler-full thoughts!

Review: Midsommar

Theatrical Release Poster.

When I saw Hereditary in late 2018, I was left absolutely floored. I couldn’t believe a movie could hit me in so many different ways. The majority of the scares came from the tense and emotional family drama. Grief. Responding to tragedy. Trying to move on. Ari Aster had made a horror movie that found the horror in the most real and genuine moments that a lot of families have gone through (some more than others). When I saw that A24 was releasing another movie by him the next year, I knew I would be buying my tickets in advance. I’m more than happy to report that Aster did not disappoint. Midsommar is a hell of a ride. I should know – I’ve seen the movie five times. This review will deal primarily with the normal theatrical cut, but I will have a rating for both cuts of the film.

The movie follows Dani (Florence Pugh), her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor), and their friends on their journey to Sweden for a festival that only happens once every 90 years. The moment the movie started I was gripped. The opening scene is intense. When I say intense, I mean wow. Genuinely gets me every time and this is before the “title” card even comes up. We get beautiful shots of nature, closeups of the tragedy to come, ominous foreshadowing, great initial character work, and an incredibly relatable introduction into the core thread of the movie- a crumbling relationship. Somehow, Aster manages to fit in a little bit of everything in a short time while giving a great road map to the tale that awaited.

Every single member of the main craw acted phenomenally. The chemistry (or lack thereof) between them makes every single element feel human and personable. Florence Pugh is downright AMAZING. The stress, the worry, the constant doubt, the co-dependency, the weariness – every element she gives in the first 10 minutes had me invested in how her character would progress. I cared about Dani. Watching her react and emote to the struggles she goes through is satisfying and makes a lot of the emotional moments in the movie stick in my head. Likewise Jack manages to do a great job of making the audience really hate him. It takes a lot to make me dislike a character that much, but I absolutely hated Christian. A lot of the time, because I could see myself in him. William Jackson Harper is great as Josh and feels like the first person who could be typecast as “nerdy philosophical guy who digs himself into serious problems”. I’m only half kidding, but his portrayal of a geeky super serious nerd is touching and alarming. Will Poulter is comedic gold as Mark and had me laughing literally every time he came on the screen. He helped keep the movie from ever feeling like “too much”. Rounding off the cast, Vilhelm Blomgren is great as Pelle. He’s calm and comforting which helps make the story feel that much more rounded in theme. The characters all play off each other well and watching the interactions bloom between them keeps every moment relevant. I always cared about what was going to happen to them.

The Director’s cut is really good at building up these character moments. Christian is more of an ass and his relationship with both Josh and Dani are fleshed out even more. It makes the payoff in the third act more satisfying and also explains some character issues I thought were slightly “too much” more understandable. If you like this movie the first time (especially if you’ve seen only the theatrical cut), I’d highly recommend watching the Director’s cut for a second watch through because of how much it reinforces and expands on what you already know from the last movie. Speaking of replay value, the movie is packed full of Easter eggs and brilliant foreshadowing. Yes, there are incredibly not-so subtle hints, but sometimes the clues are so on the nose you can’t tell if Aster was messing with you or not. The payoff to each of these moments always felt earned and made me enjoy the movie A LOT more than I initially did (which is crazy because I loved the movie the first time).

This film has been described by Aster as “more of a fairy tale than a horror film,” and I couldn’t have said it better myself. This isn’t a “horror” movie in the traditional sense. It has gruesome elements. There are certainly moments that are unnerving and unsettling. However, the main crux of the movie deals with toxicity in relationships- romantic and platonic. Friendships are revealed for what they really are- there’s gas lighting, projection, passive aggressive behavior , and insensitivity. The fact that it all feels so real is what makes it so terrifying. There’s something recognizable in each of these moments which forces you to think about yourself in uncomfortable ways. The juxtaposition of feeling redeemed but simultaneously condemned as different relationships were revealed is something I haven’t really experienced in a movie before. But that’s the thing about people right? We’re toxic at times but also go through other toxic stuff and this movie gets that and dives right into exploring the ways we hurt ourselves and others. The first time I saw the movie , I left the theater and just started crying. It was a lot to kind of process and deal with. In my second viewing, I felt joy. A sense of elation. By the end of the movie I was laughing almost gleefully. You can always find a new way to relate or enjoy something about the film if you let yourself fall under its spell.

On top of this, the movie is downright hilarious. Like I said above, Poulter is great and has a ton of great one liners. If you enjoy him, he has even more fun in the Director’s Cut (if I haven’t hinted enough I think you should definitely watch the Director’s Cut). But the fun doesn’t stop with him. The sometimes absurd reaction of certain characters to different phenomena and the way they react to certain scenarios always creates an incredibly perverse humor. There’s one scene in the third act, that had the entire audience laughing every time I saw it – but the scene itself is horrifying in terms of implication. When you realize what you’re laughing at there’s almost a sick realization of depravity. Like you’ve done something wrong, but right. That’s a special kind of humor and it never feels out of place with the other jokes.

Finally, the movie is a visual masterpiece. The movie features the use of hallucinogens. When the characters trip, the visuals match. They don’t look unrealistic or absurd like how movies want to think trips are- instead, they’re incredibly realistic. It’s honestly mesmerizing and is the best depiction I’ve seen of what the influence of those materials looks like in media. There are tons of little visual clues in a lot of scenes that will have you asking about what’s really going on. It’s a great directing technique that keeps the audience in the same frame of mind as the characters. I could feel their panic and sense of unease. Furthermore, there are so many gorgeous shots in this movie that I could easily screenshot and print out in a frame. Gorgeous wide shots of nature and the pagan festivities really sells the eerie folk feeling. The movie also takes place entirely in “the morning” which makes it even better , because the feeling of something being wrong is amplified. Aster uses mirrors and reflective surfaces to great effect, especially in dialogue scenes which creates beautiful depictions of character relations while augmenting the already astounding aesthetic.

Sound is done well and I actually noticed how well mixing was done. Sounds dim in and out based on character feeling and the intensity of the drug induced trip they’re in which only increases engagement with them. The score is also iconic and I’ve listened to it on Spotify countless times. When the music starts playing, everything starts feeling more spiritual and evocative. It’s hard to describe but it’s almost ethereal in how it amplifies the movie.

Rating

TLDR: Midsommar is a beautiful look into the way we treat each other and the consequences of abandoning responsibility. There’s a lot to unpack and a little something for everyone to get into.

Final Rating:
Theatrical Cut: 9.7/10
Directors Cut: 10/10
I thought the movie was near flawless when I first saw it, and only loved it that much more upon watching the Director’s cut. I’ve loved and raved about the movie above, but I’d only recommend watching it if you like those artsy weird horror films – The Witch, It Follows,etc. I recognize the movies aren’t for everyone and I’d hate if you had a bad time. Additionally, if you’ve wanted to see a movie that’s bursting at the seams with Georges Bataille, you definitely need to check this out.


Note – In lieu of a spoilers section I have a much longer essay on Midsommar that should be up before the start of the new decade.

 

Review: Star Wars:Episode III – Revenge Of the Sith

Theatrical Release Poster

This movie is my favorite Star Wars movie out of the original trilogy and the prequels. Does it have its flaws? Yes. Is it a cinematic masterpiece in the same vein as Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back? No – there are some acting issues, strange lines, and wonky visuals. In spite of that, this is, in my opinion, the best movie. George Lucas’s brilliance and vision for the tragedy of Darth Vader comes to full fruition in this emotionally intense tragedy and it’s genuinely beautiful and devastating.

The plot picks up some time after the end of end of Episode II- Palpatine has been kidnapped by General Grievous and we jump into Anakin and Obi-Wan trying to rescue him. The moment the film starts the action kicks off. We go from a great chase scene, to a frantic air battle involving my favorite little droid, into an series of epic battles. This film redeems the disappointing battles of the last movie and then some. The action is on point and features some of the best moments from the entire franchise. There are FOUR amazing light saber/force fights that are really fun to watch ( even if some of them are shorter than I wanted). I couldn’t believe my mind that we got to see this many duels. Two of these fights are so spectacular that I literally had to pause and go re-watch scenes because of how amazing the choreography and intensity felt. Even R2-D2 gets to fight MULTIPLE TIMES in the film and it shows a real sense of creativity and fun.

Acting in this film is also leaps and bounds better than the previous two installments in the prequel trilogy. Ewan McGregor gives Obi-Wan Kenobi some much needed emotional weight and makes Anakin’s decisions feel that much more painful. Hayden Christensen still has some wonky expressions as Anakin but shines through when it comes at depicting his darker more broken side. Natalie Portman really stepped it up as Padme and gave the pivotal romance between her and Anakin a much needed sense of depth. I could believe in the feelings and intensity between them more so than before and it made the unfolding tragedy that much more meaningful. Ian McDiarmid steals the show everytime he’s on screen as Palpatine and is wonderful to watch. I love how evil he really is and his emotional manipulation skills are on full display here. It’s a masterclass in portraying pure evil and I absolutely adored him.

Presentation also feels a lot nicer in this film. The digital effects are a lot better and don’t feel as dated. There’s a closeup of Grievous that looks absolutely stunning and I kind of want it as a screensaver – the point being that some of the animation looks stunning. It makes the action feel more fluid and hits feel like they have more heft and weight behind them. Lighting, set design, and selection of color palette amplify the epic nature of scenes. The score and mixing also feel on point and help amplify the adrenaline and devastation. The third act and final battle is monumental and feels otherworldly because everything just melds together. There’s so much care put into this film and you can tell how important this climax is.

Anakin’s character arc is satisfyingly concluded and presented . It’s crazy to think about how much heavy lifting the film had to do given the lackluster job the latter two films had done at developing his descent into the dark side. Somehow the movie manages to take those threads, develop them, and be entertaining in its poetic tale. I love that Lucas decided to really embrace doing dark/twisted things in this film. There’s no holding back and when the dominoes start to feel the film feels like a doomsday scenario. There’s a real sense of tragedy and it serves as the emotional weight of the first six episodes. This movie is not only amazing in it’s own right – it retroactively makes the prequels more beautiful because the tragedy of Darth Vader is finally complete. It also makes the original trilogy more believable and emotionally charged because we understand Darth Vader. Certain lines from Episode VI already feel like they hit harder because of how this movie progresses. Somehow managing to make amazing movies even better – I think that’s a feat only a masterclass film can have.

This movie made me cry. There are gut wrenching scenes and the third act just hits you with a slew of them. The implication of certain moments tinges previous events with a feeling of melancholy and tragedy. But the ending is absolutely brilliant and rekindles a sense of hope – leading perfectly back into Episode IV.

Rating

TLDR: Revenge of the Sith was well worth it and proves that George Lucas is a visionary genius. The prequels might have started off rough and had a series of issues, but the end destination made everything worth it. Amazing action, great acting, and a poetic tragedy befitting one of the greatest characters of all time- this film was a home run.

Final Rating: Rating this movie was hard for me – I can recognize its flaws but it’s nothing like I’ve experienced more. So for the first time ever, I’m giving a movie two ratings – my personal rating on how the film felt to me and a rating that’s more “objective” and in line with the criteria I use to rank movies normally.

Actual: 8.8/10
Personal : 10/10.

There are glaring flaws with this movie and I’m aware of them. I just think the movie does so much in spite of that and contains so many phenomenal scenes, moments, and ideas that I can’t help but not mind the issues. For me this movie is everything I wanted and more. It’s a unicorn. If you want to experience the beautiful tale of a tragic anti-hero – you owe it to yourself to watch Star Wars Episodes I – VI. I’m stoked to watch the other movies and get into The Clone Wars.

Go to Page 2 for my spoiler-full thoughts!