Friday, September 11, 2015

[Review] Queen of Earth

If you like slow, talky films with dreadfully loathsome characters, then Queen of Earth is for you. Alex Ross Perry's second film within a year (following the much better Listen Up Philip) takes on a completely different tone. It still employs a similar aesthetic with it's grainy cinematography and handheld camera, but it's way more claustrophobic.

When the film opens with Catherine (Elisabeth Moss) bawling her mascara out amidst a breakup with her boyfriend, shortly after her father passed away, we know we're in for some emotional tumult.
She decides to go stay with her friend Virginia (Katherine Waterston) for support. Things continue to down-spiral for her mentally and physically in this grating psychological drama.

Elisabeth Moss gives a really good performance for what it is, but the character never gains our sympathy (at least not mine). Not only is she generally unlikable (the other characters can't stand her either), but she basically lies in bed the majority of the time and refuses any help or advice from Virginia (isn't that what she went there for in the first place?). She seems to be grieving more over her banal boyfriend (who is shown during flashbacks) than her deceased father. Call me callous, but I gave no fux about whatever her deal was. Maybe that is all part of the intention, but it makes for an excruciating movie experience.

The film boasts an unnerving soundtrack throughout that attempts to drench the film in a creepy and suspenseful atmosphere, but it doesn't really coincide with the actual events on screen, so it feels more melodramatic than anything, like it's just mining for nothing.

Early on, there's a conversation between Virginia and Catherine that goes as:

Virginia: "Please don't talk to me like you're superior to me or any of us."
Catherine: "Why not?"
Virginia: "Because it's dull and uninteresting."

This exchange pretty much encompasses the entire movie itself.


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