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  1. Published on: 27/03/2018 04:23 PMReported by: Film Critic
    Plot: When a woman is involuntarily committed to a mental institution, she is confronted with her greatest fear.

    The second film directed by Steven Soderbergh since his supposed retirement. I guess he has found a new lease of life in film-making.

    I think on the whole, Soderbergh is a solid film-making with a few high-quality projects to make him a highly regarded him within the industry. My particular favourites of his are Erin Brockovich, Traffic, Ocean's Eleven, Che, Contagion, Side Effects and Logan Lucky. So I was fairly intrigued to see what is making have a second life of sorts.

    While the first half was intriguing and exploring interesting topics, I felt getting there was a bit quick. I felt like I wanted to know more about the main characters backstory to get more invested into the situation at hand.

    But gladly, the second half rectified that and I felt we were back on course for an entertaining thrill-ride. It also shifted its tone at almost 180 degrees, which surprised me in a way.

    Leading the way was Claire Foy, who continues to show her strong range into playing anything, and in many different genres. You could feel her emotions and experiences throughout, especially one great at the start of the final act. She is thoroughly captivating.

    Foy is mainly known for her TV work, and doing particularly well in The Crown at the moment. But she is certainly spreading her wings into films. Most recently in the very good Breathe.

    I liked watching Jay Pharoah. It is great to see an actor known for his comedy work be involved in a serious role, and Pharoah's presence felt really comforting. It was nice to see some sanity be brought to the table.

    I have to mention Juno Temple, who was criminally under-used in this. She is a top talent that always brings her a-game into any project, no matter how small. Her character seems to almost channel Brad Pitt from Twelve Monkeys. But I think her lack of screen-time prevented us from seeing an interesting fully-fledged character that could have stole the show.

    I have to mention the cinematography. It had a style which I don't often see. I would usually see it in low-budget projects. But apparently, it was all filmed on an iPhone. I never would have thought that. It was mainly because I was too gripped in the story to even consider or notice it. A few films have attempted this with strong results in the last couple of years. I think it was a bold and refreshing move from such an established director, and it will be interesting to see if this has a future and that could compete with the blockbusters.

    A brief mention of the score by Thomas Newman. While I don't think I will be listening to it after seeing this, I felt it was well utilized at the right times.

    No real major negatives. However, the shift in tone was partly problematic. So I guess the deciding factor on my rating, is how strong its positives are.

    In the end, I did enjoy it. It's a respectable piece of work that explores and partly covers some interesting topics that are similar to One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and Shutter Island such as, who are the actual sane people in this story, turning a sane person into a insane person, who are the doctors and who are the patients etc. But the second half seems to quash those ideas, and instead go for a stalker/slasher thriller by the end of it. While the execution of both of those halves were perfectly fine, I would have liked some consistency.

    I wouldn't quite put it up there with the best films involving a mental institution, as there weren't many great mysteries to be solved. It felt naturally progressive, and there were few surprises. But despite not much of it being challenging, it is certainly engaging and entertaining enough to be solid viewing.

    Rating: 7/10
     

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