This week Anthony, Helen & David wrap up our Ari Aster deep dive with his 2nd film! MIDSOMMAR! Is it a step up or down from Hereditary?!
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Synopsis for Midsommar
A young American couple, their relationship foundering, travel to a fabled Swedish midsummer festival where a seemingly pastoral paradise transforms into a sinister, dread-soaked nightmare as the locals reveal their terrifying agenda.
Anthony’s Initial Written Review
I don’t understand how Ari Aster has a career.
Midsommar feels like a directorial suicide. By that I mean, he has created the exact thing that almost all film-goers would despise and hate. The perfect non-commercial film. I don’t mean that it’s ‘that violent’ or ‘that crazy’ (though it does have a fair share of each).
What I mean is that it feels uncensored, and purely a peice of art that was made exclusively for Ari Aster himself.
It’s slow, it’s monotonous, it’s plodding at times. It crawls with its structure, slowly unravelling like a dream that lasts so long that it becomes a nightmare because you just want it to end.
This is the definition of autuer cinema. A film designed for one purpose and one purpose only, to tell a story the exact way the director intends. Whether or not you enjoy it, or it pleases you, or satisfies your craving or desires, is worthless to a film like this.
Like First Reformed last year, this film is immaculate and unflinching in what it wants to show.
And somehow, this film, feels like it was made for me. The subject matter hits a core truth in me. The tone and vibe of the entire film resonated with me and felt like a fucking drug being injected inside of me.
The visuals are fucking stunning, if you thought hereditary was a visual showcase, damn. This film is a glorious sun bathed shower of colors and meticulously framed and structured images. Each shot is refined. I was constantly surprised and admired each and every visual choice he made. The lens, the depth, the focus, the movement, the pacing, the length, the fucking colors, and the special effects altering some scenes visually. FUCK.
The lead actress also gives it her all. She gives a performance on par to Toni Collette in Hereditary
I could ramble on about other things. Like the editing, costume/make-up/set design, the score, the sound editing & mixing, and the brief but hilarious moments of comedy. But I will end this short.
Just know, Midsommar is more than likely not for you, at all. I would actually say, you’ll probably dislike it, and that’s fine, I truly believe Aster created this solely for himself. As it is immensely cathartic, uplifting, traumatizing and absolutely honest in the way it deals with grief, death, and most importantly growth.
10/10 – Masterpiece