Robert Lalonde’s review published on Letterboxd:
It’s really A24 finding a film that encompasses every single cliche about independent cinema of the last 30 years.
It’s so chaotic in all the wrong ways, not really feeling like any emotion is being given by Trey Edward Shults, more just giving a moral story about being better to people in the most try hard way. Just because you watch a lot of films and mess around with techniques doesn’t mean you know how to properly use them.
It felt more like a computer trying to make what it thinks an indie film is than an actual artistic vision.
The movement of the camera is good but the lighting just makes those heavy movements feel hallmark and made for TV’esc. The neon also doesn’t work, because it just feels heavy handed and going nowhere. It would have helped to see a Noe film first to try and figure out what works and what doesn’t in terms of this lighting. It’s just flat and not distinctive in the amount of colour trying to be shoved upon so many scenes.
So much of this doesn’t work and TES really does try to cover up his tracks with the Trent/Atticus score and the pumping hip hop/electric undertone soundtrack but those who have seen enough of these films are gonna see right through this.
The performances really don’t stand tall except for Sterling K Brown, which is a shame he wasted a performance this good on this film. There is no connection with any of these characters because as complex as TES wants you to feel they are, they just end up being very one dimensional.
Also don’t know that we could have had writing more predictable either. It almost felt like a skit how the beats were going. I really hoped It Comes At Night wasn’t just a fluke, but maybe it was...
I’ll say though the shot of the cops in 4:3 was money! That was great. And the film did get better after that moment, but it’s not good enough to save the rest of the film, the sisters POV is a lot better though...
And sorry, Harmony Korine was in it and I didn’t even notice?? It was so infuriating and pissing me off I didn’t even notice him so that should really put the films rating back down to a 1, because TES couldn’t even make that work! Just tone def work that frankly makes it seem like he had never met a person of colour nor anyone young. Go watch Euphoria and at least get a better take on culture for 2019