There’s no way a debut has any right to be this good in nearly every respect. The visceral direction, cinematography, editing and sound design all reminded me of Shane Carruth’s ‘Upstream Color’. This has a lot more menace to it. Paul Wright takes you inside the head-space of an outsider who is suddenly even more so, coping with loss in an increasingly self-destructive way.
The surrealism of marching in a parade as Death, or igniting that red flare in the room are burned into my mind in vivid detail.
The ending. It can be looked at in many ways. To me, it’s an afterlife of sorts, where the boy enters the beast after he has lost (through death, being separated when sent to a mental home, a lost chance of love) everyone to be reunited with them, mirroring the fable we hear.
It’s the kind of emotionally rewarding, yet ambiguous ending that screams “FUCK YEAH!” I had the same reaction to ‘Take Shelter’. I absolutely adored it.
Haunting, assured filmmaking.