This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Joe Bandy’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Loved this! Shymalan taking the phrase “life is a beach” and making a full fledged thriller out of it exploring our mortality in intimate and often gruesome detail.
Went in wondering what the “twist” was but was impressed that there really wasn’t one at all and Shymalan opts to just dole out the mystery through the piece rather than withhold it all and then shotgun it in your face at once. I think that works if it will pack an emotional punch (see: Sixth Sense) but less so here where it’s basically just a plot device that pharmaceutical companies suck ass and pat themselves on the back for doing exploitative things.
His camera work and framing is top tier and I love how dreamy and beautiful Mike Gioulakis (quickly becoming one of my faves) shoots it. I thought every strange performance choice or weird dialogue had payoff or felt genre appropriate and often tied so well to the reveal of their ailments. Rufus Sewell as a doctor with schizophrenia is of course stand offish and Alex Wolf as a teenager who was just yesterday 6 years old of course can’t articulate things in an appropriate manner.
Honestly let down by the ending which felt like he shot 6 and couldn’t pick which form of catharsis to give us. The full blown explanation of what’s going on, the emotional re-connection with the kid, getting the company in trouble, saving the next victims, flying over the beach at a safe distance. Too many!! Just pick one! But I still love that he makes horrifying images where people’s bones contort and break or they get stabbed 10 times in the chest but then will have a sweet, humanist message. Seeing the material things wash away/rust but the emotional connections grow stronger is really great.
Outside of the endings this is a blast and truly the first time in a long time that I’ve been so completely engaged in a movie theater.