Profile is caught in a curious frame. Inspired by Anna Erelle’s 2015 memoir, In the Skin of a Jihadist, director Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) crafts a Facebook-focused thriller that was shown at the Berlin Film Festival in 2018, is based in the year 2014, and finally arrives in theaters nationwide in 2021. What we have, then, is a screen-share narrative that’s both forward-thinking when it comes to bridging the ever-shrinking cap between computer screens and the silver screen and an outdated hand-wagging parable about the terrors of technology and the ever-present dangers of social media (what a concept).
As we’re typically reminded by today’s news cycles, the immigrant experience is fraught with hardships and humility. The act of separating oneself from their homeland, their family, and sometimes their heritage causes one to drift between one nation to another, caught between two lands but never feeling connected to either — sometimes for a grueling sense of time. You’re caught in a perpetual state of limbo, which is befitting of sophomore writer/director Ben Sharrock’s BAFTA-nominated movie of the same name. To try to mine comedy from such a difficult experience can seem like a dangerous proposition, especially these days.
It’s not often we get a memoirist’s perspective on film. There are plenty of instances where directors write autobiographies, certainly. And there are plenty of novelists who’ve made the leap into screenwriting and directing. But it’s pretty rare for an author known for his best-selling life story to make the jump behind-the-camera. Of course, Eddie Huang hasn’t lived an ordinary life. The Fresh Off the Boat writer is an attorney, producer, television host, food personality, chef, and restaurateur, complete with his own gua bao eatery in Lower Manhattan, which gives you a glimpse into his wide-ranging skill set. This is a guy who really knows how to expand his reach.
Throughout a nearly four-decade acting career, Robin Wright has capably channeled characters who carry a patient, dutiful sense of longing and/or silent dignity. Be it The Princess Bride, Forrest Gump, The Congress, or Netflix’s House of Cards, to name only a few notable movies and shows, Wright has often demonstrated a great talent for playing patient, mature women with complicated feelings and careful thinking.
Promising Young Woman is mad. Damn mad. And it damn well should be. The feature screenwriting and directorial debut of Emerald Fennell (Killing Eve) is a consciously, thoughtfully thorny and confrontational revenge story, driven boldly by its star performance from Carey Mulligan. It tensely and intently examines the #MeToo era with a bold disregard for what anyone might think or say. Filled with simmering rage, and a film that’s often eager to examine the layers of hypocrisies through which a “boys will be boys” culture has been formed in institutions over the course of generations, this cinematic takedown is a vibrant effort to dispel “nice guys” and dismantle a society that often sides with men while disrupting women’s futures in the process.
Monday, the latest film from director Argyris Papadimitropoulos (Suntan), is a splashy and sensationalized effort, one that’ll possibly turn some folks off its intentional, unabashed abrasiveness. The response to the film’s debut appears to be divided, and understandably so. Seemingly by design, Papadimitropoulos’ latest film is a claustrophobic and unsettled viewing experience, and it matches the restless, unbridled feelings of our lovestruck, then lovelorn characters. If you don’t care for these characters, essentially, then you’re gonna have a hard time falling for this movie. Especially since the filmmakers seemingly don’t care if you like them or not. They’re not the most endearing duo, but they’re certainly amusing to watch in their debauchery. Well, at least, until they aren’t. Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself already.