Sunday, 28 October 2018

Suspiria: Film Review

Suspiria: Film Review

Cast: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Chloe Grace Moretz
Director: Luca Guadagnino

Feeling a lot like a contemporary cinematic bedfellow / brother to Gaspar Noe's Climax, Guadagnino's Suspiria is an odd beast to say the very least.
Suspiria: Film Review

50 Shades of Grey star Dakota Johnson plays Susan Bannion, a dancer summoned to Berlin during post Cold war times to audition for a company run by Madame Blanc (Swinton, in icy enigmatic turn).

Initially holding back, Bannion rises to the star pupil role, as her roommate Sara (Goth) begins to grow suspicious of what's going on at the Tanz Academy.

While Suspiria offers one of the most uncomfortable scenes set to celluloid this year, Guadagnino's homage, less remake, has more of the feel of an art film, rather than a full on horror.

With contorting bodies, some truly impressive choreographed dance scenes and a general feeling of unease early on, Suspiria sets the scene well as it ramps up the feminist vibe.
Suspiria: Film Review

But it begins to fudge the execution of the film, failing to deliver much suspense and horror in equal measures as it unspools. Leading to a finale that's more ludicrous than terrifying is the final blow for this, thanks to some truly weak prosthetics and laughable dialogue. (Which is baffling given that some of the earlier work on this front is more than laudable, and the hints of the madness of possession that swirl early on.)

Mixing in allegories for the East vs West confrontation in Germany, an ongoing series of radio reports about the Baader Meinhof hostage crisis and an old man's quest to find his wife, the film's tendency to hardly deliver on any of these dallies very close to feeling it's undercooked rather than fully formed. It doesn't help the characters field a once over lightly approach either.
Suspiria: Film Review

That said, Swinton and Johnson impress mightily; from Johnson's naif lost in the pull of something she doesn't understand to Swinton's performance that is evocative and subtle (to say more is to spoil), there is something to admire about the female led Suspiria (and doubtless there will be treatises on the women-led power piece and how it handles men).

Ultimately though, the 2018 remake of Suspiria is as polarising as you'd expect; it fails as a horror film, succeeds as an art piece, and consequently, feels insubstantial and almost inconsequential. The 1977 film from Dario Argento would be slightly appalled.

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