In case you have been nervous, Do not Fear Darling is a wonderfully serviceable slice of big-screen weirdness. The slick psychological drama, streaming now on HBO Max, is a shiny, stylishly surreal thriller with one thing to say, that includes an limitless array of attractive fashions and Florence Pugh in glorious kind. What extra would you like?
Having premiered in September amid limitless weird stories from the set and movie festivals, Do not Fear Darling is obtainable to hire and purchase on-line now. The 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD launch date is Nov. 29.
Pugh stars as a glamorous Nineteen Fifties housewife residing a picture-perfect suburban life. She even has a trophy husband, performed by pop star Harry Kinds in a wardrobe of impeccable fits and enviable midcentury shirts. However not one of the gossiping wives know the place their husbands go every day of their shiny Cadillacs, and Pugh begins to surprise what’s actually driving the sun-dappled desert city’s easily sinister chief, performed by Chris Pine. Nobody else appears nervous about it, darling, however there’s undoubtedly one thing bizarre occurring on this retro utopia.
Director Olivia Wilde slowly cranks up the unsettling features of this odd idyll, tormenting Pugh’s more and more unsettled housewife with teasing visions and mounting paranoia. Wilde additionally performs one of many different wives, perpetually armed with a cocktail and sharply penciled side-eye. There is a trace of The Stepford Wives about them, and you may in all probability additionally end up considering of any variety of midcentury melodramas and home chillers that stab on the suburban fantasy, from Rosemary’s Child to Blue Velvet to Get Out.
So yeah, clearly you realize there is a twist coming. I am unable to get via a brief TV episode of Black Mirror or Devs or Tales From the Loop with out impatiently wishing somebody would simply inform me the twist so I can go do one thing extra attention-grabbing. It is an actual feat to spin a yarn that retains the viewer engrossed for an entire film. Do not Fear Darling largely pulls it off: As John Powell’s unnerving rating meshes with basic Nineteen Fifties pop cuts soundtracking the deliciously fashionable oddness, I discovered myself half-hoping for no rationalization in any respect. There’s solely a restricted alternative of endings for these sort of tales and an over-literal resolution not often lives as much as the vibe.
Because the movie premiered at movie festivals in latest weeks, the weird happenings on display screen have been matched by extraordinary occasions among the many movie’s director and stars. It is not value rehashing the drama, however it’s grimly ironic that the off-screen drama has boosted a movie which might simply have sunk with out hint. Do not Fear Darling is a medium-sized film, and an authentic story — the kind of factor you do not see a lot in theaters any extra. Even with enormous stars aboard, Do not Fear Darling might simply have been a type of streaming flicks everybody talks about for 2 years and will get excited concerning the trailer after which in the future you surprise, hey, no matter occurred to that film, and notice it got here out on Netflix Prime Video Hulu Plus three months in the past.
However do not relish the messy gossip an excessive amount of. The frenzied media circus threatens to overshadow the creative benefit of a movie directed by a lady, to an extent that is barely conceivable for male filmmakers. Nonetheless, even when you have not been following the spit and spats, it is merely inconceivable to enter Do not Fear Darling with no preconceived notions. You are not meant to. Kinds is the most well liked pop star on the earth, Pugh the most well liked film star. The scorching pairing of personas is the entire level.
At the very least it needs to be. Pugh proves her expertise with an virtually informal effortlessness, embodying a theater-filling anguish whereas leaving a lingering impression she nonetheless has extra left within the tank. Pugh delivers a commanding, usually mesmeric efficiency that anchors the movie at even its weakest moments.
And Harry Kinds can also be there.
If we’re being charitable, that is a type of blessed events when a performer’s limitations kinda swimsuit the character. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger, who cannot persuade anybody he is a human individual however is ideal as an inarticulate barbarian or stiffened robotic. In Do not Fear Darling, Kinds’ pomaded husband is a fantasy determine, so it is OK that he struggles to inject any emotion into his traces. He is much less a performer and extra of a prop — one other piece of the shiny furnishings filling the set, like a classy rug or lamp: stunning, clean and perpetually fading into the background.
Sooner or later throughout the movie, I considered Matt Smith’s flip in Final Evening in Soho. Like Do not Fear Darling, Final Evening in Soho is an ambiguously fantastical drama a couple of girl trapped by in a whirlwind of retro glamor and male violence. Smith performed the silver-tongued, exactly tailor-made seducer, embodying a seething mixture of sexuality, freedom, jealousy and menace. Right here, Chris Pine provides all these issues, as a result of Type certain would not.
Giving Kinds the advantage of the doubt, casting such a magnetic onstage performer and gloriously playful wearer of garments subverts the retro manliness of Pine, of Jon Hamm in Mad Males, of Sean Connery’s James Bond (glimpsed on a poster within the movie). One scene, which performs to Kinds’ performative strengths because it places him squarely within the highlight, presents a whiff of critique for the way in which he is made to caper earlier than us. Which is simply one of many many concepts sloshing round Do not Fear Darling like ice cubes spilling from a cocktail glass.
These concepts is probably not notably refined or authentic, however at the very least there’s one thing occurring beneath the sharkskin fits and pinup clothes. Whether or not the movie is smart of those themes is one other query, however the entire thing seems to be rooted in seethingly well timed anger.
So the music, the garments and at the very least one of many stars are value your time. Whereas it is from the sum of its elements, Do not Fear Darling is a wonderfully entertaining B-movie.
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