Beasts of the Southern Wild Reviews
This film is co-written and directed by Benh Zeitlin, a man with no real credits to his name making this his first full length feature film, and it's not a bad way to start off with it being nominated for two oscars respectively. However unfortunately despite all the charm this film clearly possesses, it was never enough to bring me in, I felt that this film dragged by the end and there are a few reasons why.
I never cared for any of the characters. Despite the brilliant performance by young Wallis as Hushpuppy, I never felt like a relationship was formed between her and the audience. Everything felt forced, and this was even worse for the other characters like her father, who is played fine by Henry. The whole way through the film was practically telling us how to feel and what to think about him, there was no breathing space to think for ourselves which is thanks to the screenplay written by Behn Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar. It meant the film quickly bored me, and there was no coming back from there.
The directing choices in the film also felt jarring for me. There was an abundance of shaky cam, if used properly this can be effective but it only succeeded in making me annoyed and dizzy. Despite this the cinematography by Ben Richardson is undoubtedly stunning, especially for it's little budget of $2m. However unfortunately this is never enough to drag me into a film and enjoying it throughout.
Overall I feel this is a film which will separate many people. You may love it, you may hate it. It wasn't nominated 2 oscars for nothing after all. However what the film was trying to tell or do never quite hit me. Resulting in a not so enjoyable viewing experience.
In a nutshell
Six-year-old Hushpuppy lost her mom ages ago. Her dad is ailing. Her world, a forgotten Southern bayou, is a stark, dangerous place filled with fiercely flawed, but brave, individuals. When a storm disrupts her life, and the balance she so strongly believes in, these memorable individuals fall apart, stand strong, drink copious amounts of alcohol and fight for their lives.
Mood of the film
On one hand it is magical, almost mythical, and on the other hand it is terrifying. You expect the worst of people, and the worst possible outcome for Hushpuppy.
Quvenzhané Wallis is utterly believable as the defiant, strong Hushpuppy. Watch out for the scene where she flexes her little muscles and shouts at her dad, "I'm the man!".
Hushpuppy's vulnerability is never more visible than when she dons a welding mask, lights the gas stove with a flamethrower and eventually burns down her house.
I could go digging around for some, but if I have to try that hard to find any negatives, then they're not worth noticing.
Is the film relevant today?
It touches on really important issues, such as how removed we are, in fact, from death, from nature and from reality. I was thinking throughout the film that this Northern Suburbs Joburger would not last five minutes in that world.
Does it cop out?
Nope. You know Hushpuppy's life forward is going to be tough and brutal, yet you leave the cinema with hope.
Dwight Henry (Wink) owned a bakery where the crew put up an audition notice. He was invited to audition. He got the role, but could not be reached, because he had moved his bakery to bigger premises. Two months went by before they found him. He declined the offer, as he was focusing on his bakery. However, every crew member rocked up at the bakery and pleaded with him. He accepted the role, but only on condition that they could rehearse during his midnight "baking hours"!
Does Hushpuppy meet her mother?
Do the Aurochs represent Hushpuppy's fears that she needs to face?
The acting was wonderful, and the feelings of drama, resilience, love & hate, and community intertwine to make a memorable experience.
I bought the movie, so I will be watching it again.
Benh Zeitlin fizeram um cine-apelo barato para tentar integrar o primeiro escalão de Hollywood, conseguiram!