The first half of this is Peter Strickland at his best. An aesthetic to die for, dizzyingly controlled, deliciously odd, deranged humour. Phrases like “transformation sphere”, “artery red” all pop out at you. Amazing to see Secrets & Lies‘ Marianne Jean-Baptiste given such a gift of a part. All the actors here are so fucking good. Fatma Mohamed is the entire film personified. Is she literally playing a mannequin with a pulse? I could just bathe in this style and universe for hours. Wow.
The second half is….well, different. It’s so unlike anything Strickland has made before, the preceding hour especially, to such a degree that you maybe suspect this covert anthology film is the work of two directors and not one. It’s looser, sillier, cruder. The transition didn’t sit well with me but I was constantly in awe of Strickland’s audacity to stage such a drastic change of pace and tone. It’s a choice alright. Looking forward to revisiting this upon its proper release next year. I suspect the audience will be as drastically divided as the two segments that make up the film. Can’t wait for the conversations.
Watched at Leeds International Film Festival