Powered by Blogger.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Review: Amulet

Director: Romola Garai
Screenplay: Romola Garai
Year: 2020

"Amulet" is the second horror movie to be released in just a few weeks that refers to an artifact, the other one being "Relic". The reference in its name is not the only thing both movies have in common, as they are both full of metaphors and a resounding message. Another thing they have in common is that neither was of my liking.

A homeless ex-soldier that roams around the streets of London is invited to live in the house of a young woman and her convalescent mother. The ex-soldier repays his stay with improvement works on the wear-down house, in which he increasingly finds strange things. While he slowly falls in love with the young woman, his suspicions that there is something sinister going on in the house increases.

"Amulet" crafts two plots simultaneously, which slowly converge as the movie progresses until they intersect in the outcome. Both stories focus on Tomas (Alec Secareanu; “God’s Own Country”), one based on his past as a soldier and the other on his present while he helps Magda (Carla Juri; “Blade Runner 2049”) in the house. The story of his past is focused on an event that slowly unfolds during the movie, but which outcome is easy to predict, and we see how this event torments Tomas and molds his current personality.

The idea of intertwining both plots and how this relationship develops is good, but it is in the message that the debuting director and screenwriter Romola Garai wants to send where it all goes south. The plot is dense on metaphors that, at some times, try to be so elaborated that ends up making no sense. This makes, for most of the movie, the viewer feels lost and unable to understand what is the relevance of the things shown and emphasized, and it all feels like everything is put together without coherence. In the outcome the metaphor is clear, but when this happens, it has already lost the viewer's attention. The protagonists’ acting doesn't help much as they never feel convincing, opposite to the phenomenal acting of Imelda Staunton, who many will recognize from her role interpreting Dolores Umbridge in the "Harry Potter" saga. 

Basically, Garai uses her metaphors to deliver a message about patriarchal abuse and female liberation. However, it does so in a slow-burn and convoluted plot that compromises its message by trying to be too artistic. During the last third, the story takes a sudden turn where the metaphors become stronger and more evident as well as strange. From genital to mythological metaphors, this last stretch tries to untangle the plot while at the same time, it tries to justify that it is a horror movie. 

"Amulet" tries to shout a message but screams so loud that it is hard to understand what it tries to say. During the whole movie, the viewer is confused about its meaning and, while in the end, it manages to make sense of it, the strange events that lead to the outcome have such a different tone from the rest that they seem to be part of a completely different movie. The plot development is slow and convoluted and neither of the main characters has the charisma to carry a story like this, easily outshined by a secondary character.

No comments:

Post a Comment