The Viewing

The Viewing ★★★★

Panos Cosmatos I love you. Everything you make is brilliantly weird, soaked in metaphor and lens flare and glow. Is this about peer pressure? Is it about drug addiction? Is it about the systems that entrenched themselves into our every day lives before most of us were alive or conscious to stop it? Is it a story of rich people in power not thinking of the consequences of what horrors they're going to unleash on future generations until it's too late, and the brilliant minds they were willing to sacrifice along the way? Perhaps it's a story about all of the above...?

It's always brilliant to me how Panos sets his stories in the past, in years we can no longer touch and affect, yet curiously live outside of time. Their time period and aesthetics are so important, their political narrative at odds with the dreamy surrealism he plunges into. His films are a memory half-forgotten and half-reconstructed, full of people you almost remember who linger on the sides of your brain. The Vietnam War isn't a distant memory to the characters in this story. President Carter is just around the corner. Italo-disco is on the rise.

Speaking of the characters, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Eric Andre got to actually have a really down-to-earth and serious role in a story like this. It was cool to see him play a clear character and he brought a real weight to it that mixed well with his coolness he naturally exudes. Of course, when he needs to bring the freak out he does it with style. Everyone in the story is pleasantly memorable and played well. I love how Panos trusts his actors to absolutely deliver on their facial expressions - the soliloquy by Peter Weller's reclusive billionaire is brilliant.

Forgive me if this review is unfocused as I'm exhausted but I was thrilled to see this. It's always exciting when watching a Panos Cosmatos vision to notice the recurring symbols in them - the pyramids, the dissonant humor, the cars, the glow. The diegetic music! Gorgeous. And my god, not only does he suck you into this unreal world of billionaires playing God he then hits you with some magnificent slow-mo gore to boot. That mix of real and unreal is what makes Panos Cosmatos so interesting to me. Can't wait to see what his future movie has in store for us because he's made spectacular works every time.

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