Tomb Raider ★★★½

It struck me while watching this that someone had the bright idea to really emphasize the sound design, not just of the ambient flavor, but of Lara as a character. Alicia Vikander seems to make a very particular type of frustrated wheeze when she is doing something that is particularly stressful, and the sound designers utilize this vocal tic to underline both that this is a human being who is fragile but also determined, and that what she is doing is extremely taxing to her body. It causes the audience to consider her, not as some sort of larger than life superhero the way Angelina Jolie was in the Simon West directed original film adaptation, but as a grounded, flesh and blood person. One who, in most cases doesn't really know quite what she is doing in the moment, but is good at improvising and is used to getting the shit kicked out of her. I really appreciate that level of care being put into the sound of a film. It's subtle, but very effective.

Vikander's performance has a very good mix of physical and emotional beats. The script allows her latitude to make Lara much more interesting and scaled back than previous (re: extremely sexist) iterations. In particular the choice that she most often made that I found refreshing was complete and utter confusion. I appreciate when a person in an action film is legitimately confounded by the string of absurd death traps in which she finds herself. I guess I would strongly relate if I found myself in a similar situation.

There is also something to be said for including her reaction to killing someone for the first time. The beat isn't held as long as I'd have liked, but it's still pretty fascinating to get that kind of character moment from a movie based on a video game. I wish this kind of fidelity to emotion had stuck around for the rest of the film, but I understand that we can't take a break every time one of the rando crossfit bros with machine guns got an arrow in the neck.

Also, shout out to Himiko, the queen of the dead. Masahiro Shinoda made a dope movie about her and you should all watch it.

Sebastian liked this review