If there are any dadaist cinephiles out there, perhaps they can reclaim Second Act as a multilayered masterpiece of illogic. Certainly the film seems destined to survive all future nuclear winters, enduring as a time capsule of humanity at its most pitiably pedestrian.
The story's knotty aspects reverberate under its sentimental-cum-inspirational surface. In the guise of a glossy entertainment, Welcome to Marwen gets at some unnervingly irresolvable truths about humanity.
Scene by scene you wish 55 Steps made you angrier than it does. Yet August's docile filmmaking acts as an emotional soporific, removing even the potential camp pleasures of Bonham Carter's histrionics.
It should surprise no one that, as Hell Fest comes to a close, Evil Hoodie Man pulls a Michael Myers disappearing act. This leads to a narrative twist so ridiculous that all non-syringe-pierced oculi will roll.
Felix Van Groeningen commendably sustains the story's profound sense of irresolution: abuse-rehab-relapse, abuse-rehab-relapse, abuse-rehab-relapse—an endless cycle of teeth-gritted optimism at best, soul-deadening dashed hopes at worst.
The mystery surrounding the Slones and their missing child is much less interesting than Core's burgeoning friendship with the local sheriff, Donald Marium (James Badge Dale), who assists with the investigation.
The filmmaker's expressively cockeyed impulses soon take over (he's ably assisted by the terrific cinematographer Seamus McGarvey), and the resulting craziness is quite delightful to behold in the moment and to reflect on after.
For all of the film’s attempts to get back to the sinisterly sidling Michael of the first Halloween, his stealth movements no longer terrify because his fixations are less unthinkingly instinctual, more compulsively mortal.
At its strongest, the film feels like kin to Kirsten Johnson’s great Cameraperson (2016), a free-associative nonfiction memoir comprised mostly of B-roll and personal footage. Though the subject here isn’t Ross himself (despite a few offscreen aural appearances) but an entire community that, in both micro- and macrocosmic senses, has remained historically unacknowledged and unseen.