Wednesday, 26 August 2015

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2015) - Her Review

Shot in dramatic black and white, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is a beautifully filmed horror, commonly billed as the first Iranian vampire western. Part of me completely succumbed to Ana Lily Amirpour's movie, the part of me who loves intense imagery and music. But part of me also felt disappointed into a film I'd been looking forward to for a long time, the part of me that doesn't like fighting off sleep during a movie.

Sheila Vand plays The Girl, a vampire who stalks the dusty abandoned Bad City, taking down all the bad guys who threaten other people. A girl of few words, she'll silently creep behind her prey, even mirror their movements, all in a chador that makes hers look like a ghostly bat, before stealing their possessions. Meanwhile, Arash Marandi plays a man who worked 6 years for his vintage car, only to have it taken as collateral by the towns only gangster to pay for his father's heroin habit. After a fancy dress party, where Arash has dressed as Dracula, he meets The Girl. Unable to walk, The Girl wheels Aresh back to her place on a skateboard that she stole from a kid.

The film continues looking into Arash and The Girl's slow burning relationship, as well as Arash's father continued trouble's with his drug habit. Amirpour's vampire is an introverted music lover, and one of the film's stand out moments occur when Arash first visits The Girl's basement flat. As The Girl puts on White Lies Death on the record deck, Arash twists her glitter ball and the light spins wildly and in stark contrast to the intensely slow movements the two make as they move closer together. This scene is a highlight, and real goes to show how slowing a film right down can really accentuate the tension the director is trying to create.

However, there is many more slow scene's in the film, and these unfortunately do not have the same effect, instead dragging very little plot over a long time. Truly the pacing is what brings this film down. I did find myself drawn to the characters and Bad City itself, but we are given so little information, and literal silence from the characters, that it becomes hard to string the scene's together.

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is a film high on style though, and is intoxicating to watch through those terms. You will find yourself connecting the dots between this film and it's influences, from James Dean and spaghetti westerns (in terms of soundtrack and the fact it was film in California) to David Lynch and Universal horror's, and while it's unique in it's style, it could be argued that maybe it has borrowed too heavily from its sources.

I would be very reluctant to criticise this movie too much as I found myself falling more and more for The Girl. Who can resist a character that stalks predator's by being a predator themselves, especially when they then sulk off on a skateboard. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is a film that gets you excited over the visuals, but needs your patience for the story.



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