I never start a review commenting on what the so-called Film Twitter Mafia has to say about it, without seeing it. Starting at CinemaCon in April, when her director/co-star Olivia Wilde was handed legal papers onstage regarding her custody hearings with ex Jason Sudeikis, there has been nonstop gossip about her movie. Do not worry honey. There has been so much, until today’s Venice Film Festival press conference (covered by my colleague Nancy Tartaglione) that you almost have to address the elephant in the room. Others can do that, but let’s not forget that there is also a movie here, one that I was able to preview as just that a few weeks ago in Burbank. As a reviewer, to quote be there Chauncey Gardner, “I like to watch,” and that means only what’s on the screen.
That said, on your own terms do not worry honey it’s actually quite entertaining if you’re in the mood, even if Wilde’s candy-coated psychological thriller doesn’t rewrite the rules of the genre in any significant way. It’s kind of a cross between Outside, the Stepford wives, Y rosemary’s baby with a ’50s Rat Pack vibe thrown in for good measure. And perhaps even luckily at the time, the Supreme Court’s closure of Roe v Wade provides gravitas for an underlying message here of terror meted out by the men who control women’s bodies in this funny, yet family-friendly film. Despite having a prestigious slot out of competition for its world premiere in Venice today, this is more of a commercial film than anything else and the New Line Cinema production could work well with audiences.
‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Venice Film Festival Premiere Photo Gallery
As a director, Wilde garnered critical acclaim for her 2019 teen comedy, smart booking which even rated some attention awards. Here she shows that she has the skills to create a seemingly perfect 1950s fantasy life in a company town within Palm Springs called Victory. Featuring stunning production design by Katie Byron, brilliant Technicolor cinematography by Matthew Libatique. (A star is born, Black Swan), and terrific costume design by Arianne Phillips, the stage is set for what is supposed to be the American dream. We see a closed utopia of houses that look alike where wives seem to spend much of their time keeping the houses spotless when they’re not lounging around the pool with the other women after sending their husbands off to work (all in different perfectly chosen styles). ). model cars of the time) to a mysterious place in the desert where they are creating what appears to be some sort of top-secret company along the lines of the Manhattan Project or No because it’s never really explained in detail, just that all the men work there and the area is off-limits to anyone else.
At the center of all this are Alice Chambers (Florence Pugh) and her loving husband Jack (Harry Styles), a couple with steamy sex lives who seem to be genuinely in love and have achieved this idealized lifestyle provided by Victory. Could it be better than this? Okay, yes. There are early signs of trouble when one of the women in the community, Margaret (Kiki Layne), acts strangely. She knows more than she should, in reality she has ventured into the off-limits desert headquarters, her new and troubling discovery has put her husband Ted’s (Ari’El Stachel) job in jeopardy. ).
This is when Alice begins to suspect that there is more to Victory than meets the eye, even as company man Jack is promoted to a key leadership position by charismatic but creepily controlling CEO and motivational coach Frank (Chris Pine). Her growing suspicions create conflict, and even come to a boil when she confronts Frank at a dinner party. The other women remain obedient wives, though it includes Frank’s wife, Shelley (Gemma Chan), who performs in concert with him, fueling the dream of the Victory lifestyle. Similarly, the vivacious Bunny (Wilde takes on the role) who is Alice’s best friend, loves what Victory has to offer and keeps trying to keep her in the club. Tension builds to a boiling point when Alice ditches a tour tram ride to go investigate for herself. You know this is not going to end well for her.
Working from a script of hers. smart booking writer Katie Silberman (along with story credit Carey Van Dyke and Shane Van Dyke), Wilde turns this fantasy world of idyllic family life into a feminist nightmare of men, particularly Frank, with total control over their women, even on the surface. It seems that these may be our neighbours, albeit in the ’50s mindset. The supporting cast just reinforces that and includes Nick Kroll, Sydney Chandler, Kate Berlant, Asif Ali and Douglas Smith. Timothy Simons has some very creepy moments as the Dr. Collins company. But in the end, it’s Wilde and his team of craftsmen who create the visuals that make the story we’ve seen in various guises so many times work as well as it does here. Even employing some stylized aerial shots of Busby Berkeley that add to the wow factor, Wilde shows he has an eye for this sort of thing all the way to the soundtrack with songs from the period that offer a bit of irony, “life could be a dream.” “. Sh-bum.”
Pugh, in a role totally opposite to the discreet woman she plays in another new film The wonder which also had its world premiere this weekend (in Telluride) continues to show his range even as the character ventures into some pretty ridiculous situations, just one of them being the departure to the secret location of the forbidden desert. Styles, as he did in Christopher Nolan Dunkirk and in the upcoming TIFF premiere of my police, shows that he is the real deal as an actor and has great promise. Pine turns a slick, almost cult figure into a chilling but actually plausible villain.
Producers are Wilde, Silberman, Miri Yoon, and Roy Lee. Warner Bros opens the film wide open in theaters only on September 23.