Dark Waters is a movie that works marvellously well within its own generic terms, and perhaps after the fey disappointment of Todd Haynes’s previous, rather insufferable fantasy Wonderstruck, this tough, clear movie was what Haynes needed to clear his creative palate.
Vivarium is a lab-rat experiment of a film, with flat, facetious humour and a single insidious joke maintained and developed with monomaniacal intensity. In its way, this film is an emblem of postnatal depression and simple loneliness.
The result is a bit corny, a bit cheesy and you might feel self-conscious going, “Aww …” at creatures that are not real dogs but laptop fabrications. But it’s a robust and old-fashioned entertainment with some real storytelling bite.
This film is a blitz of bad taste, a cornucopia of crass, and it is weirdly diverting – more than you might expect, given the frosty way Suicide Squad was received critically – and engagingly crazy. Watching it feels cheerfully excessive and unwholesome, like smoking a cigarette and eating a chocolate bar at the same time.
Director Marielle Heller and screenwriters Noah Harpster and Micah Fitzerman-Blue have adroitly set up the tightrope that Tom Hanks has to walk across, stretching it between irony and belief, and the result is a really entertaining and touching film.
The rapport between Law and Lively allows the movie both to relax and pick up the pace. Morano puts together good fight scenes, robust stunt work and tasty car chases. It’s destined to be viewed on a million long-haul flights, but it works perfectly well as a thriller.
There are big scenes, big performances, big emotions here, and audiences will have to recalibrate their antennae for these, especially for the stunning shock that arrives around halfway through. The waves of emotion can get very high, yet they bring exaltation with them.