living the major malfunction
Probably the most... feel-good A24 film yet? Don't get me wrong, it's still very much of that dark and surrealist brand that this distributor seems to attract, but at the very least, I didn't come out of the theater questioning life itself. Actually, my two foremost thoughts on this film are "Hey this shit is atmospheric as hell, I'm gonna get the 4K blu-ray" and "Oh man this cast is STACKED" I only really knew about Dev Patel (who is great) going in, so I won't spoil it for anyone else as in the dark as I was. Great movie, overall.
As somebody who has really, *really* dug the recent D+ Marvel shows (Loki especially), I went into BW with somewhat low expectations, perhaps seeing it as outmoded in a narrative sense; a film produced in the before-times, when only Wandavision was a glint in someone's eye. I'm happy to say the format still works, even as it juggles a spy thriller with a family drama. Does it execute perfectly? No, especially in the CG smorgasbord of a climax. But writing-wise, it's still very resonant and refreshingly blunt. Also probably the most... inventive Xanatos Gambit a MCU film has pulled yet. *shudder*
It's a crushing shame that a movie with a premise as absurd and ambitious as this one's ultimately ends up a trashy affair, filled with moments that betray an underwritten script that even a cast of A-listers can't salvage. This, in addition to a reliance on action film cliches (particularly in regards to the climax). What works, at least, is the overall look of the film, which nails the absolute desolation of a post-apocalyptic wasteland ruled by dragons.
Alien strikes a Star-Wars-esque balance between its sci-fi setting and a grounded aesthetic present in everything from the set design to the actors' performances. Here, though, instead of striving for an archetypal fantasy plot, Alien steadily delves into a multi-faceted horror narrative that tests its characters from within and without. It's an exceptional film for its time, and remains so, even today.