Midsommar

Midsommar ★★★★★

On more than one occasion in Midsommar, Ari Aster pushes his camera through a window and finds a different environment outside. Frames that twist in orientation, right way up to upside down and back again. A shift in perspective. Hypnosis becomes dream becomes nightmare becomes liberation.

Purely in terms of framing and direction of the camera, Ari Aster is currently working entirely unrivalled. Midsommar is a stunning spectacle, an unnervingly over-exposed buffet of brutal body horror, background visual trickery and shots held for so long you feel a sickness form in your stomach as you begin to wonder what Aster is building to next. Much like Hereditary before it, Midsommar is edited like an endless punch to the gut. It goes back to prior shots for one final blow, but finality isn’t something Aster is concerned with. He just keeps going back for more.

Midsommar’s script isn’t as tight as Hereditary’s, nor are its characters as fully realised, but there’s a twisted immersion found within its sprawl - its lack of character specificity adds to its atmosphere, its perhaps intentionally bloated runtime only strengthening the numbness it leaves you with. Everything here is by design, it functions like clockwork but hits like a sledgehammer.

We’re brought to an unfamiliar environment that grows more alien with every passing minute, anchored impeccably by Florence Pugh’s committed, staggeringly intense performance. The juxtaposition she finds between confusion and clarity, especially in the film’s unshakeable opening and closing sequences, is truly commendable. 

Is Midsommar a horror film? Truth be told, I’m not sure. I’m not sure a word yet exists that describes the feeling lingering in my mind and my hands and my heart. I can’t say for certain how long Midsommar will stay with me, but something tells me the stress-induced headache it leaves me with right now won’t be going away for some time.

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