There are many ways to attain engagement in cinema but by far the most storied and lauded is tension. Hitchcock did it, Kubrick did it, Tarantino does it. This movie distills that to its utter essence. Character arcs are spare and predictable, lighting and color cues are straight forward and intuitive and even the scenes have a tendency to repeat themselves in structure and pacing.
All that's left is the execution of creating that tension for the audience. And this movie gets it like none other. JK Simmons is a revelation bringing back the crassness of his utterly perfect turn as JJ in Spiderman.
++++ Marky Mark
++++ The Rock
+++ Can you smell what The Rock is cooking
+++ "This is still a true story"
- Rebel Wilson
+ "China fucking crap
+ The Russian stripper
+ The Russian stripper's body
++ The internal monologues
+++ Ed Harris
--- This movie was just one off-color joke away from going into John Waters territory
-- Fargo kinda did this dance before
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
I was really interested in the concept after an absolutely killer introductory scene and some fun directorial flourishes with tension building and a couple of neat tricks with tracking shots, reveals, etc.
But as time goes on the payoffs just don't compete with the buildups. Instead of being terrified of the grim reality of what happens to the victims of 'it' I'm left scratching my head as to how it was supposed to have worked in earlier scenes.