I LOVE horror movies. I love an original script. I love a great soundtrack. Put them all together and you’ve got me on your side from minute one. There are few movies ever made that deliver on all of these aspects. The one I am about to describe blows it out of the water.
A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT… The tagline of this film is as such:
The First Iranian Vampire Western.
Yes, you read that correctly. Just imagine that John Hughes, David Lynch, and Quentin Tarantino all made a movie baby together and Robert Rodriquez taught it how to sing. Bam! Welcome to “A GIRL”. It’s hands down in my top 5 for the year. I had missed it at both Sundance and New Directors/New Films but had been hearing the buzz.”You have to see this,” is all people were saying and not much more. I’m glad I was left in the dark because what I experienced on screen last night (opening night) was un-freaking-believable. So let’s jump into the plot: Imaginary town of Bad City, sparsely filled with the oddest of archetypes. You’ve got your James Dean wannabe, his junkie father, an arrogant pimp, a street urchin, a prostitute, and last but not least, you leading lady vampire. If you’re a good person, you get to live.
Shot in black and white, the film has this beautiful other worldly quality that is difficult to explain until you actually see it for yourself. With a multiple narrative style that slowly fades away as the story progresses, it is ultimately a love story. The dialogue is almost non-existent but the music says it all. One of the most poignant scenes is between our vampire heroin/villain and Arash, (that’s our James Dean character). Long lingering shots lead to nothing but what seems like a slow motion, drug induced, chill session between the two and a record player. This is the song that plays over that scene and it is perfection.
Writer/Director Ana Lily Amirpour is a damn genius. This movie is like a ballet, music video, fan letter, and memorizing nightmare all mashed up into some new genre that makes me so excited it’s difficult to articulate its greatness. The voyeuristic camera work is pure art. Playing the title role is Sheila Vand. She has this inexplicable ethereal quality that is both captivating and unsettling. You root for her. Not for a moment did I dislike her character, I kind of just wanted to be friends with her. Her loneliness is palpable and I yearn to see an entire series of these films (pretty please?).
A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT is a visual mix tape of weirdness. It is elegant and bizarre and way more interesting than 95% of what’s been released this year. Go see this movie. Go now. Do not miss the opportunity to see a film you can really sink your teeth into.
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Screenwriter: Ana Lily Amirpour
Producers: Sina Sayyah, Justin Begnaud, Ana Lily Amirpour
Executive Producers: Elijah Wood, Daniel Noah, Josh C. Waller, Nick Moceri, Ben Conrad, Alexei Tylevich, Reza Sixo Safai, Daniel Grove, Patrick Grove
Principal Cast: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Dominic Rians, Marshall Manesh, Mozhan Marno, Milad Eghbali
Cinematographer: Lyle Vincent
Editor: Alex O’Flinn
Language: Farsi with English subtitles
Runtime: 107 minutes
US Distributor: Kino Lorber
Kino Lorber will release ‘A GIRL WALK HOME ALONE AT NIGHT‘ in New York and Los Angeles on November 21st, with national expansion to follow.
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