The latest entry into the canon of films exploring food and ecosystems, like Aube Giroux Modified and Andrew Grace Eating Alabama, the documentary works as well as it does because of a reliance on its relatable subject and the director as its narrator. The breathlessly long set pieces build up a sense of suffocation in real time, while the subtle music and camerawork evoke the constant, unspoken despair of a billion nobodies. While much ink has been spilled over its astounding hour-long 3D single take through multiple towns and above, the rest of the film is just as ravishing as we follow (though that word is loosely defined in meditative ways) a detective journey to track down a mysterious woman.
- John F. (full review)Where to Stream: Amazon, i Tunes, GoogleNocturama (Bertrand Bonello)Here an elevator pitch: Nocturama is Robert Bresson The Devil, Probably in a homegrown-terrorist garb that substitutes transcendental style for the form of contemporary thrillers and music videos, all the while filtering a faux-intellectual anger through a consumer-culture criticism that, in its place and mood, most recalls George A. Romero Dawn of the Dead.
But for plumbing the depths of radicalized Parisian teens' desires and actions less than a year after ISIL-led attacks shocked the globe, every ounce of appeal that his film might -- and, I think, ultimately does -- offer cannot prevent writer-director Bertrand Bonello from being a victim of poor timing. Timing is so relative, though; doubly so when his is a picture that grows (some might go the cancerous route and say metastasizes) in days and weeks after being seen, the kind that feels at once explicitly of its moment and vaguely outside of any temporal trappings. No 'expert' talking heads rattle off statistics or theories or digestible factoids, and in fact the particular 'how's and 'why's of the one-child policy design and implementation are only broadly outlined through archival news clips and Wang expository narration.
To enter into the Fifth generation maestro latest period piece is to be invited to marvel at a 116-minute long dance - a stunning return to form from a director who would previously ventured into semi-autobiographical terrain with the 2014 moving Coming Home, and later veered into the bombastic Chinese-cum-Matt Damon blockbuster epic letdown The Great Wall (2016).
Shadow brings heart and spectacle together, and the result is a bombastic martial arts wuxia replete with duels of breath-taking beauty that will please longtime Zhang acolytes and newbies alike.