Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (26)
| Top Critics (8)
| Fresh (15)
| Rotten (11)
This unnerving and frustratingly opaque drama focuses on a teenage boy who distrusts his own memories and present reality.
The Strange Ones is a perfect demonstration of how the craft of storytelling is also the craft of withholding - of revealing as little as possible in carefully parceled-out amounts.
Its pastiche elements never form into something that feels uniquely compelling.
One of those take-it-or-leave it movies where you either surrender completely to the mood and style of the filmmaking or start questioning what it's leaving out, covering up, or glossing over.
However nuanced and artful, the nightmarish unease is laid on so thick that, in combination with the cryptic narrative, it gradually turns to murk.
It's an artful, boundary-pushing debut from Radcliffe and Wolkstein, with breakthrough performances from Freedson-Jackson, and Pettyfer, perhaps signaling a new direction in his career.
It isn't just how "The Strange Ones" is framed that's so compelling, but how Pettyfer and Freedson-Jackson both hold their own on screen, no small task when the weight of the film is largely on their shoulders.
With these performers milking every moment for "feeling" and "meaning," the emotional dynamics become stunningly obvious.
The Strange Ones is an elegant drama whose ending becomes poignant and elegiac. Brought to life by stellar acting and engrossing yet straightforward directing, the more the audience discovers, the more hypnotic everything becomes.
Not enough thrills or story to support a thriller feature film.
As unsettling as it is, The Strange Ones is also provoking. When the credits roll, it resonates. It is uncertain what's going to happen next to Sam, or if he can ever truly leave his past behind, but we are left wondering.
For most of the film, Radcliff and Wolkstein manage their combination of elliptical narrative and shrewd revelation of secrets with great skill.
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