- Little to no actor or actress today in film is such a chameleon, than the great Tilda Swinton, who here turns in multiple performances. Swinton takes a jab at three characters in total, two of which show some of Swinton’s most restrained work. But in Swinton’s restraint she still brings her natural sorcery to her most revealed character “Madame Blanc”. Dakota Johnson and Mia Goth both deliver their best work to date here as well, as Johnson brings a tame innocence to her character at first but slowly transforms it to a façade. While Goth’s helpful classmate manner creeps to one of pure fright.
- Luca Guadagnino’s direction continues to be one of great opulence. As he delivers a film paced like a steady narcotic drip that takes its time creeping into your veins. He builds onto it with body horror bliss, while also seemingly caring much more about the scars than the violence that caused them. He as well focuses more on intellectual jolts rather than the visceral ones, as he lodges the films sickle-like hooks into your brain. Guadagnino continues to be an excavator of buried primal longing, as this film under the rumble of war has the beating heart of a love story. Which is seen in the film’s finale, where you are flooded with blood and viscera, but also something even more unsettling a sudden onrush of deep overpowering melancholy.
- The screenplay by David Kajganich is very much a layered one. Kajganich’s screenplay introduces something much more than a remake, but more of a rebirth. He layers the background of the film with political commentary of 1970s Germany, as it is filled with terroristic violence from the Red Army Faction and the slow recovery from WWII. He as well brings a baton-passing narrative that is more symphonic in structure, as we seamlessly change focus from one character to another. But Kajganich ultimately delivers a tale of strong independent women who seemingly channel violent national trauma into vibrant art and boldly reject the repressive upbringings of the past.
- The cinematography by Sayombhu Mukdeeprom is one that is built on a palette of grey and darker soft toned colors, but it does nothing to hold back Mukdeeprom’s capacity to deliver work of much lavishness. Mukdeeprom finds the ability to bring the most ghastly of images to a striking flare of an almost intellectual beauty. Though I would say he delivers best in the film during two nightmare sequences where he unleashes flashing images of unknown subjects that build on a haunting allure of visual storytelling.
- The editing by Walter Fasano is a tour de force showcase of brilliant crosscutting. Fasano’s crosscuts deliver a back and forth of rising to power in beauty, to falling in power in horrific death.
- The score by Thom Yorke (lead singer of Radiohead) is a strong practice in pensiveness, as he adds another layer to the film’s atmosphere through his frankly brilliant eerie dissonant music. Which combined with the choreography from Damien Jalet, form a kind of supernatural hostility.
- The film’s plot drags at a time or two.