Sundance Day 6 Recap
Gah! The festival is all but over and I am so behind on my recaps. I've spent so much time seeing movies, that I've had very little time to blog. Here are my thoughts on three more films I saw on Thursday: Handling the Undead, Good One, and A Different Man.
HANDLING THE UNDEAD
Handling the Undead follows three separate families whose loved ones unexpectedly come back from the dead one day. While they had been deep in the grieving process, they are now faced with a second chance to spend a little bit more time with those whom they had lost.
Handling the Undead is a moody contemplation of grief...that moves at the slowest pace you can imagine. Many viewers, myself included will feel frustrated with this and have a hard time connecting to the story and characters. I wish I could say the audience's patience is rewarded, and for some that might be true, but this one just didn't ever take off for me. Nice performances and premise, but just not for me.
Teenager Sam (Lily Collias) goes on an overnight backpacking trip with her father and his friend in Good One. She observes their dynamic, always listening and chiming in her opinions on what they're talking about, while rarely being asked to share much about herself. Through the course of her trip, she learns more about herself, her father, and his friend--and her place in their lives.
Good One is slow and slight, but by the end feels meaningful. Lily Collias' performance as Sam is very impressive and surprisingly assured. It's not the showiest movie or role, so what she accomplishes with her expressions really is quite remarkable. You don't quite know where the movie is going until the third act where it reveals itself a bit, so some patience is required to get there. Here it does pay off. Hard to say too much more without showing the movie's cards, so we'll leave it at that.
A DIFFERENT MAN
A Different Man is certainly one of the most unique films I've ever gotten to see at the festival. Sebastian Stan plays Edward, a man with a facial deformity that he feels keeps him apart from the world. When a new next-door neighbor moves in (Renate Reinsve), Edward makes a connection with her but fears she could never feel the same way about him. A possible solution to this is presented when his doctors share that they have good news for him: a potential cure to his ailment. But the grass is always greener on the other side as Edward finds life as a new man might not be all he imagined.
A Different Man is not only full of twists and turns, it's also filled with constant genre changes! From drama to body horror, to black comedy... A Different Man often feels like a different film every 30 minutes...yet somehow it mostly all works. One of its biggest conceits is that it features a career-best performance from Sebastian Stan who fully commits to the role of Edward. The other is Adam Pearson plays Edward's All About Eve-esque nemesis who embraces his condition instead of hiding from it. Pearson is so charismatic here, that he steals every scene he's in. A Different Man has an essential commentary on the portrayal of disability in film and its ethicality. It's bonkers and crazy in how it tells its tale, but it's always entertaining.