Twentynine Palms

Twentynine Palms ★★★★½

New French Extremity

Film 9/13

This is one of the best slow-paced “thrillers” that I've seen in terms of how much build-up there is or the somewhat lack thereof the climatic narrative points in the story because at first glance, in the first 50 minutes of the movie, it's quite relaxed and while there is the odd thing here and there but for the most part, it’s quite serene & tranquil and coupled with the camerawork and editing with the constant usage of wide shots and the shots are still and long for the most part and the bright & scenic lighting is meant to signify this, yet even then, there’s a certain underlying uneasiness & inevitability to it all and once the odd things start to be more overt & violent, it only gets worse from there and I think that it’s definitely a unique film in that regard and in how it does pacing, impact, and structure because while some people may find this film boring or monotonous due to its heavy reliance of visuals and the slightly minimal script & dialogue and understandably so, however I find the visuals engaging and attention-grabbing and for what and how much dialogue there is, it is compelling and is insightful in how it delves into the how it characterizes and fleshes out the characters of the film for which there are two and those two characters being Katia (Played by Yekaterina Golubeva) & David (Played by David Wissak) are sympathetic & likable characters although they are clearly flawed like, well, most people (me included) and the two respective actors who play their own roles are very good at acting and it genuinely felt realistic at times and I think that due to how nothing much of traditionally exciting happens in the film and it takes it’s time moderately slow, it makes the things that can be considered “thrilling” or “exhilarating” to be much more impactful as a result and I wouldn’t call them “thrilling” nor “exhilarating”, more so disturbing and despite the actual events & violence are shown in moderation, it’s extremely hard to watch (which coming from me, I truly & genuinely mean it), and I find the ending and the last 20 minutes to be one of the most harrowing pieces of media that I've seen, and I compare it to something like the ending of The Vanishing (1988) or the entire fourth chapter of the film Antichrist (2009) in how unsettling it is and like in those films, the violence is of pure randomness & coincidental circumstance which makes what happens all the much more tragic despite the inevitability that’s present, I was still surprised by it which I think is incredibly impressive and I find that it does recontextualizes the previous events in the film and I find the ending while very open to interpretation, it’s apt and haunting note to end with and I find it as a whole to be an captivating exercise in the unpredictability and uncertainty in life despite it being seemingly visible & present, we are still surprised and shocked by it because we least expect it when we are at our most seemingly safe & aware despite it being ever present and while I can look this film in a more deeper level, I think that will be for another time but regardless, overall I am going to rate this film a 9/10, this is one of the more outstanding New French Extremity films that I've seen and if you’re into slow-paced thrillers and/or challenging & disturbing cinema, then I suggest you check it out, I might like this film more upon multiple viewings and I'll probably rewatch it when I have the time to do so.

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