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The writer/director duo behind this project must have been going for a contemporary take on American Psycho but ended up producing something closer in quality to American Psycho 2.
Jim Cumming's character is so intensely unlikeable that it is truly difficult spending a full 90 minutes with him. He is just as phony and unctuous as Warren Oates' character in Two-Lane Blacktop but without any of the charm or redeeming qualities.
This is not in and of itself a dealbreaker…
I'm not sure if I was just in the mood to be scared, but some of the frights in this movie left me legit spooked.
That being said, I thought the piecemeal, nonlinear storytelling took away from the fright factor here. Part of what makes a scary movie scary is the tension that builds from simmering in one, limited perspective for a long time.
Especially as it went along, this just got confusing. Rika appears multiple times and each time, I get too distracted trying to figure if this is before or after the last time I saw her to be scared.
One of the most telling scenes in this movie is when Axel gives a glowing speech in honor of his grandfather at his eightieth birthday party. He focuses admiringly on all the hardship he had to go through to obtain his fortune and comfortable life.
Axel never had to struggle to obtain his position. Instead, he tries to artificially manufacture struggle by putting himself in dangerous, precarious situations. Movie makers long ago figured out that a toxic, self-destructive protagonist is a key ingredient to a compelling story.
If this was not an influence on Uncut Gems, then that would be some coincidence.
If you only get to see one Edward Yang movie in your life, make it this one.
Although I think highly of Terrorizers and Taipei Story, they feel muted at times. The pacing is slow, the dialogue is understated, and the dramatic scenes of conflict and action are few and far between, if they happen on screen at all.
This is not the case with Yi Yi. Characters lash out in anger, weep out of grief and despair, and lay…