Director Ari Aster has once again released a bizarre film upon the mainstream. He pulls no punches and unapologetically puts the audience into a 3 hour long panic attack. While the film is certainly more of a dark comedy or drama than it is horror, it still holds the director’s trademarks all throughout and is a loyal addition to his catalog.
Joaquin Phoenix stars as Beau – a man who is overwhelmed with anxiety, grief, trauma, and guilt. He lives in a rundown apartment complex that sits above a street full of the homeless, manic characters, and habitual violence. It’s been a family tradition that on his father’s deathversary, they all meet with his mother and pay their respects. But as he is about to leave and head to the airport, he runs back into his apartment to grab something he forgot, and returns to the hallway to find his bags and keys are stolen. He calls his mother to explain the situation and she believes he is finding an excuse to avoid the visit. She loads him up with additional guilt, which leads him to take more medication – which triggers a series of unfortunate events as he attempts to get to his mother’s house.
This film is absolutely bananas. It has random acts of violence, absurd characters, and one thing after another that makes you simply utter “…what.. the fuck..” There’s over 2 hours of events before he even arrives at his mom’s. Its filled with flashbacks and unexplained imagery that helps define the character’s past while very intentionally setting his future up for disaster. The ending is bleak and makes the audience sit in silence as the credits begin to roll. It’s a film that needs to be seen to be believed, and it’s incredibly divisive.
I thought it was genuinely interesting and the first chapter was really tense and hilarious. I do feel the very middle dragged on a bit long, so the 3 hour runtime could’ve been trimmed a bit, but I still had a great time and refused to leave my seat. And oh man… that final 20 minutes is equally traumatizing and brilliant.
Approach with caution, but I encourage you to take the ticket. Ari Aster is certainly a director of the times.
“Beau Is Afraid” is currently playing in theaters.
‘Til Next Time,
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