Lore’s review published on Letterboxd:
Not quite sure whether to give it a 6 or a 5, I had a pretty good time watching this but there's just so many things that really annoy me. To begin I find this movie so mind-numbingly repetitive, the whole movie is just them beating you over the fucking head with, yeah he's crazy, without making any real character progression at all. After about 40 minutes I just started to get annoyed as I felt that it was just wasting my fucking time. And things just got worse. There was that beyond stupid, and predictable, bullshit with the girlfriend which if taken out of the movie wouldn't have changed a thing, there was the even more stupid Wayne subplot which was also just weird and annoying. It kind of feels like the kind of shit they would have in a sequel when they've already developed the characters and run out of ideas of what to do. The mom had about 10 minutes of screentime and no development of her or their relationship, we just kind of got the gist of it and that's it. With only that for development, I really don't understand why they expect me to care. It's just like, "oh cool that's his dad, oh cool that's not his dad, oh cool his mom is crazy... ok... why should I care again?" I feel like if there were less scenes of unsubtle garbage like "oh wow isn't it crazy out there? yes, it is crazy out there. wow it sure is crazy out there" or where he's just doing crazy stuff cus hes cRaAAzYYyy and literally writing fucking the words mental illness on a sheet of paper, and more time spent on actually developing character and relationships I would've liked this movie a lot more. If theres one thing I can't stand its people who waste my fucking time, and the same goes for movies. What's even more annoying here is that its completely unsubtle timewasting, I would be more forgiving if this movie was subtler and actually had something to say, but it just doesn't. This even flowed into the performances, at times Joaquin Phoenix just felt a little too obvious, just doing whatever he can do to pull an emotion out of you, less existing in the world as a realistic character who through their regular actions pull emotion from the audience. Regardless though he was still very very good, definitely my least favourite performance from him, but still good none the less; really coming into full stride in the final half an hour.
Speaking of which was really great and entertaining, certainly captured my attention a lot more and was the one time I was truly absorbed. Since now I guess I'm talking about things I liked the score is pretty good, the pacing still manages to be great even with all the timewasting, and it is shot wonderfully. The colour-grading is gorgeous and the camerawork on countless occasions is pretty amazing. And that one scene with the midget was fucking wonderful.
In summary, I found this to be an overall entertaining but very flawed watch. I just wish there was a better director behind this as with a few changes to the structure, story and character direction this could have been really great. So close yet so far, hopefully the sequel manages to be more focused and subtle, probably not though. Very very low 6.
Edit: it’s a 4