We’re joined by returning guest Celia, on the phone from Canada, to discuss writer-director Emerald Fennell’s unusual revenge thriller, Promising Young Woman. Following the rape and – implied – suicide of her friend Nina, which goes unpunished, Carey Mulligan’s Cassie drops out of medical school, and now spends her nights feigning drunkenness, allowing men to pick her up and take her home, alarming them with her sobriety as they begin to sexually assault her. When a chance reunion with a former classmate reveals that Nina’s rapist is engaged, Cassie embarks upon a campaign of vengeance against those she considers responsible for and involved in committing and allowing her friend’s rape and its cover-up.
Celia loves it, finding that it invokes and brings to life many subtle and important observations about life for women in the patriarchy, enjoying the various forms Cassie’s revenge takes – particularly the “exercises in forced empathy”, in her words – and feeling a call to arms; José decidedly doesn’t, decrying those observations and revenges as cinematically unrealised in what is merely a filmed essay, albeit one that admirably exhibits a style, an aesthetic and a point of view. Mike bravely sits in the middle, pretending to be superior to the other two by virtue of not exhibiting an extreme response to the film. The discussion is varied and passionate – and full of spoilers. Love it or hate it, Promising Young Woman is a thought-provoking, vital film, and well worth watching.
Remaking his own film, Hans Petter Moland brings us a revenge thriller, starring – who else? – Liam Neeson as a model citizen turned remorseless killer on the trail of those responsible for his son’s murder. Sounds like typical Neeson fare, but Cold Pursuit leaps between dramatic and blackly comic tones with verve, and offers something much more interesting and original than you’re likely to expect.
We find lots to like in it, including its magnificent lighting and compositions, interesting and welcome inclusion of a group of Native American characters, as well as a commentary on their relationship to the very whitest America there is (the film being set in a Colorado ski town), and some surprisingly tender moments between adults and children, and people in love.
We highly recommend it, it’s a huge amount of fun!
The podcast can be listened to in the players above or on iTunes.
Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here tells a story of vigilante justice with a tapestry of elliptical editing and interwoven flashbacks. We consider its themes, the deliberate way it depicts or conceals violence, the effect of trauma on its protagonist and his need for human connection. It’s a complex, almost ergodic film, that requires attention, rewards visual literacy, and yields great pleasures. We love it.
We also praise Amazon Studios for respecting the theatrical release window, and round off by discussing the recent Oscars.
The podcast can be listened to in the player above or on iTunes.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer becomes a kind of litmus test for our morality. Mike finds Barry Keoghan’s vengeful teen hateful; to José, he’s a hero. This is a film that, under discussion, opens you up more than you are able to open it up.
The podcast can be listened to in the player above or at this link.