movies: beasts of the southern wild

beasts of the southern wild
It's not very often that I go and see a movie that is so monumentally outside of my general zone of interest... but Beasts of the Southern Wild is one of those movies, and then some.

The only reason we went to see it was because someone at work gave me a free double pass. It's definitely not a movie I would have paid to go and see.

I'm having a hard time even classifying what kind of movie it was. You know, other than "not my kind of movie".

It's mostly a drama, but there are some fairly clunky "fantasy" elements thrown in... but it feels more like a really twisted documentary... it's all very "real". The actors feel like (and I'm guessing for the most part are) real people and not professional actors. It appears to all have been shot on location, so it's oozing realness all over the place.

Other than the 1950's Japanese monster movie style "pigs in monster suits". Which don't, for me, add a damn thing to the movie.

I think it may be the "realness" that I don't like. I'm not huge on really real realness in my movies. Real life isn't that entertaining, and I'd much rather escape to some other version of reality where those rules of realness don't necessarily apply.

And in the case of this movie, it's kind of like watching two hours (actually I don't know how long the movie ran for, and I can't be bothered checking) of an abusive relationship. That's pretty much exactly what is being depicted... not physical abuse, but there's a level of emotional abuse and neglect that I'm not interested in having to watch.

The young actress, Quvenzhané Wallis, who plays the main character Hushpuppy and Dwight Henry who plays her father, Wink, both give excellent performances. Her for her age, and him given that he's actually a baker.

But I didn't connect with either of them. I didn't connect with any of the characters to be honest, with the possible exception of Jovan Hathaway who has an all too brief role as "The Cook" at the end of the movie.

From a technical standpoint, the film feels like a big mess. From what I've read, the director admitted that he never watched the dailies until after the shoot was finished... and it shows.

Shots are horribly out of focus, certain shots were clearly underexposed and have had to be pushed so hard in post production that they've become grainy and don't match the rest of the movie. And the whole "shaky camera" thing is so five years ago, and yet half the shots appear to have been filmed by someone with ants in their pants.

I'm sure there will be any number of people for whom this movie is right up their proverbial alley, and who will think this is the greatest movie ever made... but I'm not one of them.

yani's rating: 0 badly dressed pig monsters out of 5

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