A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night ★★★★½

Absolutely stunning feature debut from Ana Lily Amirpour, this film crackles with an intensity and a confidence that took my breath away. Perhaps a little light on character and plot, the film is nevertheless buoyed by subtle, understated performances, absolutely gorgeous cinematography, and a soundtrack that, on paper, looks like a chaotic mess but which as a whole suits the film perfectly.

It's impossible to take your eyes off Sheila Vand as the eponymous "girl"; she has a magnetism and a screen presence that's incredibly appealing. Arash Marandi is both charming and callous, and imbues his performance with a physicality that you don't often see in actors so young. The black and white cinematography is stunning; this is not Frances Ha, this is dark darks, bright whites, and a stunning range of tones in between, not to mention the fact that every shot is gorgeously composed. The film drips with longing and loneliness; in part due to the excellent performances, but mostly due to the haunting cinematography (it's rare that more than two characters are in the frame at any given moment).

As I said, the slider on this one is creeping more towards style than substance, but with such impressive performances and such exquisitely designed and executed staging and photography -- all of which combines to create an undeniable emotional reaction in the viewer (this viewer, anyway) -- I'm willing to let it go. Breathtaking.