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My most recent experience of going to the VUE to see a film had been really good, but this one was a bit more MIXED. When I got to the ticket gate I was told my film wouldn't be "ready" until about 20 minutes after the advertised time, and that I should wait in a HOLDING AREA until then. As it turend out, the film was actually STARTING then, as all films tend to, so when I eventually got to the screen pretty much the whole rest of the audience was already there. It was in one of the tiny SECRET UPSTAIRS ROOMS they have there which are really weird - for instance when I followed the signs for the LOO I found myself in a strange, cavernous backstage area, like a CAR PARK except with big illuminated screen for each of the fire exits from the screens. It was largely populated by lost souls also searching for the loo, and a COMRADERY evolved between us as we quested forth.
I got back JUST as the film was starting, and was immediately put on edge by a load of TALKING. There was a group of teenage girls sat in the row behind me who did not seem to realise how films work i.e. YOU ARE NOT AT HOME. I tried doing a PADDINGTON STARE, but a) that didn't work at all and b) I was horribly conscious that trying to SILENCE YOUNG WOMEN during a film called "Men" was not a good look for me AT ALL. Also, c) as the film went on I had more and more sympathy with their need to have a bit of a chat to pass the time.
For LO! It was Not Very Good At All. It felt less like a MOVIE and much more like a SET TEXT in search of an 'A' LEVEL, especially when it kept going "LOOK! It's THE GREEN MAN! Oooh, and who's this? Sheela Na Gig? WOT DOES THAT MEAN EH?!?" Also it was one of those films that confuse being profound and meditative with being PROFOUNDLY BORING. There were huge long bits where the lead character just LOOKED at things for ages. "Yes yes, it is a TREE/stained glass window/representation of oppression, WE GET IT" I kept thinking. "GET ON WITH IT."
Disappointingly, the whole "Rory Kinnear plays nearly everybody" aspect was pretty much no fun at all. Partly this was because it wasn't meant to be, I guess, but also because, in the nicest possible way, he is not exactly CHAMELEONIC i.e. he looks like Rory Kinnear In A Wig And/Or Bad False Teeth in pretty much every scene. There's one (ONE) bit where they use Special Effects quite cleverly to make him look ACTUALLY different, but for the most part I kept thinking "Is that meant to be a different character, or just the previous one in a silly wig?"
This was especially Not Very Good in the final section which, without spoilers, does sort of rely on all the different MEN being around but instead looks like Just The Same Rory Kinnear Again And Again. It's meant to be HORRIFIC and TERRIFYINGLY WEIRD but after a while of Just The Same Rory Kinnear Again I sympathised with a) the girls chatting behind me and b) the main character, who just wandered off into another room while it was all going on. "Come and get me when this bit's finished", she seemed to be saying, as Intense Body Horror continued to continue, and I for one supported her.
The special effects were quite good, and Jessie Buckley was very good as Not Rory Kinnear (and Rory Kinnear is an EXCELLENT Rory Kinnear in all things), but the whole experience was very much like being harangued by someone who thinks they're the only person to have ever watched the Wicker Man and has had a GRATE idea for a follow-up. OR, as I read in a review today, "like League Of Extraoridinary Gentlemen without the jokes". Basically, I did not like it very much, and YEARNED for some GAGS!
posted 21/6/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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