I’ll admit that Karam’s camera strays down one too many empty hallways for my taste, but I love the patience with which he lets things unfold, the respect he shows this family, and the way these characters don’t feel like characters at all, but real people — fellow humans.
We know in our bones where the movie is going, and it’s a steady enjoyable ride, a touch prosaic at times, one that turns into a kind of minimalist chamber-room version of “Unforgiven,” with a surprisingly touching upshot.
The affectionate cine-memoir is rendered all the more effective on account of young discovery Jude Hill and its portrayal of a close-knit family (Ciarán Hinds and Judi Dench and stay-put grandparents) crowded under one roof.
Chastain and Garfield give performances that are brashly entertaining but also canny and layered, as the characters get caught up in something far bigger than themselves. The Bakkers were hucksters of a grand order, and the film uses their spectacular greedhead soap opera to tell the larger American story of how Christianity got turned into showbiz.
7 Prisoners’ unfolds satisfyingly, precisely by not offering us complete satisfaction or certainty. The question hovers of whether Mateus can ever escape his prison altogether, or merely into one with more comfortable furniture.
While following a typical rom-com pattern isn’t inherently unpleasant, the movie’s wink-wink insinuations that it’s going to take things in a novel direction, followed by its embrace of the very clichés it’s poked fun at, makes it feel disingenuous and stale.
Like the intelligent performances — both Rongione and Cléau are standouts — and the terrific art direction, the film’s design reinforces an exquisite, levelheaded decorum about to be smashed by a chillingly cruel monster.
Dever is the best thing about this adaptation, which feels slightly less creepy in the lied-about-knowing-your-brother-to-worm-my-way-into-your-heart department, if only because Dever’s so good at balancing Zoe’s strength and vulnerability that the situation doesn’t read as a nearly 30-year-old creep manipulating a minor.
Halloween night may be Michael Myers’ masterpiece, but Halloween Kills is no masterpiece. It’s a mess — a slasher movie that‘s almost never scary, slathered with “topical” pablum and with too many parallel plot strands that don’t go anywhere.