Films I loved in May 2017

30 May 2017
Get Out

Daniel Kaluuya as Chris Washington in Get Out

Get Out is a remarkable film that manages to do several things at once. It’s a horror/comedy that is actually both frightening and funny. It is also an effective piece of easily consumed entertainment that still works as a smart commentary on race. It’s not didactic, yet its examination of how middle white America regards African Americans is hardly subtext – it’s the main focus of the film. It engages sympathy and identification from the audience for its black protagonist, while also portraying several uncomfortable observations about how the dominant white culture both condescends towards and fetishises black culture. It’s a significant accomplishment when a film this fun is also so smart, thought-provoking and challenging.

Kyle MacLachlan as Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks

I’m cheating by including a television series, especially considering that as a rule I don’t engage with television like I do with cinema, but Twin Peaks is a massive exception. The original 1990-1991 series is possibly my favourite piece of visual entertainment/art and as much as there are a number of TV shows I adore, it remains the only series that for me has ever transcended the limitations of television (maybe I could also say the same about some of Dennis Potter’s work, but I’ve never regularly rewatched those show like I have with Twin Peaks). I could not be happier with the four episodes of this new series that have been released so far. There’s enough that is recognisable about this new series to connect it to the original series, but like the brilliant 1992 film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, it is very much its own thing, and showcases co-creator David Lynch‘s ongoing creative evolution. It’s got a slow burn intensity that perfectly delivers Lynch’s humour, sense of mystery and darkness. A lot of it is familiar and a lot of it makes me feel way out-of-my depth, and that’s how I like it.

Thomas Caldwell, 2017

 

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