Tuesday, November 10, 2015

REVIEW: Queen of Earth

Queen of Earth

Elisabeth Moss,
Katherine Waterston


August 26, 2015 (NY/VOD)

Alex Ross Perry

IFC Films

1 hour 30 minutes



Every once in a while, there is a movie that comes out that I simply can't understand why other people enjoy it.  "Queen of Earth" has a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes and has received constant praise from fellow colleagues of mine.  I wish I could see what they see in this indie drama-thriller.  The movie comes to us from writer/director Alex Ross Perry, who made a movie last year called "Listen Up Phillip" that I never got around to seeing.  Elisabeth Moss from "Mad Men" plays Catherine, a damaged woman who is dealing with her boyfriend breaking up with her and, soon after, the death of her father.  She ends up staying with her best friend Virginia, played by Katherine Waterston from "Inherent Vice," at her lake house for some much-needed relaxation.  From there shenanigans ensue, and the realization that they've been drifting apart for so long slowly comes crawling upon them.

I'll give the movie some credit and say the acting was fine, and the cinematography is solid.  Having said that, every single character in this movie is so unlikeable, and not in a fascinating or entertaining way.  Every single character in this movie, and the cast is very small mind you, are absolute swine.  The things they say were so vile and irritating that I could believe that the dialogue came straight out of their asses.  Not to mention, at times it seemed like the characters had bipolar disorder in which their moods and attitudes change so abruptly.  To be fair, a portion of the movie is told through flashbacks, but even when it's in the modern day setting everyone's emotions were all over the place.

It's fine when movies try to have flawed and unlikable characters in a psychological storyline.  Llewyn Davis in "Inside Llewyn Davis," for example, was a flawed individual who clearly wasn't a great guy, yet was constantly captivating to watch thanks to great writing and a great performance to go with it.  The way this movie showcased its characters felt very pompous and melodramatic in my eyes.  There are also points where it's hard to get a grasp on what's real and what's happening inside someone's head.  Again, movies can make wonders doing this, but here it felt like a desperate attempt to show off the "talents" of the writer/director and be super artsy.

The editing is very odd at times, particularly with its absurd fetish to cut to black.  Random and awkward scene cuts also seem to be this movie's best friend.  Alex Ross Perry can direct a movie fine,  and I'm sure his other movies are good (hopefully), but this film's screenplay felt so grim and so full-of-it that I kept getting more and more frustrated as the movie went along.  Not to mention, it seemed like there were moments that were supposed to be funny, but rather these parts came off as awkward and bizarre.  I got sent a screener for this movie a while back and watched the movie via my laptop.  Despite the movie being only 90 minutes long, it took me 2 and a half hours to sit through this.  That was mainly since I kept pausing it in order to process what the hell I was watching and control the slow-rising rage boiling inside me from this.

As I said before, I'm in the minority in regards to this movie.  If you're a fan of the films of Alex Ross Perry, then chances are you will like this.  If you like psychological studies of really unlikable characters, again you may like this.  "Queen of Earth" just wasn't my cup of tea, for lack of a better term.  Then again I did enjoy such critically panned films as "Pixels," "A Million Ways To Die In The West," and anything else that can come to mind, so my opinion may not be just on this.  If you want to see the movie, go ahead and see the movie.  You may enjoy it, and I would be really happy about that.  People shouldn't go into movies expecting them to suck.  That might explain why I enjoy so many movies and dislike so few of them.  Sadly, this is one of those few I dislike.  In my eyes, "Queen of Earth" is a self-absorbed, vile and overly-artsy indie that feels like it's saying and doing more than it is.

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