Die, Die, My Darling: Wilde Makes Utopia a Dirty Word in the Sinister Thriller
“There is beauty in control” says a gentle Svengali in the center of an experimental Arcadia desert in Olivia Wildesecond year film, Do not worry, dear, and indeed, to quote Janet Jackson, ‘this is a story about control’, although it is far from pretty. Essentially, Wilde manages to create a blockbuster remake of The Stepford Wives (something Frank Oz was not allowed to correctly evoke with the 2004 reissue of the novel by Ira Levin, which produced Bryan Forbes’ iconic feminist psychological horror film in 1975). Feelings about the Oz version of this similar material were consensual about how the narrative could be taken out of the 70s, but you couldn’t take the 70s out of the film. In other words, this feminist allegory was exploring what we would today call ‘make the American great again’ sentiments, where men dismayed by the sexual revolution and women’s liberation trying to push their wives back into the straitjacket of the 1990s. 1950.
This treatment puts us in the mid-1950s in a screenplay co-written by Wilde’s smart book Scribe Katie Silberman alongside Carey and Shane Van Dyke (The Chernobyl Diaries, 2012), and as a Twilight Zone prequel to Levin, formulates a secret empire being run by men in a magical Edenic oasis, while their frivolous, coiffed wives are on hand for passionate sex, gourmet cuisine and endless martinis. The film is a standard but compelling threat execution as this world slowly draws closer to the protagonist, revealing not one but two surprising twists that eventually justify the point of it all, even if it’s a story with nothing but an update. generic about what some straight men would like to do with women if given the chance – and, grimly, this exercise asserts how little has changed since then. The Stepford Wives but also how the inferential ‘original’ narrative has become.
Alice Chambers (Florence Pugh) is married to her husband, Jack (Harry Styles), the two of whom live in an experimental community called the Victory Project somewhere in the California desert. Every day, the men drive to a complex at the top of a hill where only employees (i.e. not women) are allowed. The community is led by a man named Frank (Chris Pine), his workers ‘developing progressive materials’ and operating in strict secrecy. Frequent small earthquakes generate rumors about weapons making among wives. But they’re all well versed in following the rules, which means not pestering their husbands with questions, and most importantly, not wandering the desert to get close to Project Victory’s headquarters.
Alice is initially fine with these stipulations, happily cooking all day to satisfy her husband’s appetite, basking in the glory of heated sexual passion in a childless home, unlike many of her neighbors. Alice’s best friend Bunny (Wilde) is a social leader among women, dictating tastes and throwing drunken parties at her house with her husband Dean (Nick Kroll). But something isn’t quite right, especially when it comes to the increasingly ill Margaret (KiKi Layne), who was once a friend of Alice and Bunny until she began to experience mental health issues after her son’s death (after all, she was told to not wander in the desert).
One day, while alone on the city tram, Alice sees a plane crash into the side of a mountain, deciding to see if there were any survivors in need of assistance. Approaching the edge of the headquarters complex, she passes out, waking up suddenly in bed, her husband telling her she had a nightmare. Alice can’t believe it, experiencing increasingly sinister hallucinations and vague memories, pushed to the brink when she sees Margaret slit her throat and fall off a roof. Victory community doctor Dr. Collins (Timothy Simons), prescribes pills, but makes Alice agree that she imagined the gruesome details of her friend’s downfall. When Frank gives Jack a big promotion at a high-profile community event, Alice is accused of undermining her husband due to her erratic behavior. Rejected by Bunny after sharing her worries, Alice tries to prove she’s nothing like Margaret by having Frank and several other couples over for a celebratory dinner at her house. Dinner, however, doesn’t go exactly as planned.
Florence Pugh, the film’s strongest component, solidifies herself as Supreme Queen of the gaslight survivor after her antagonized characterizations in Lady Macbeth (2016) and Summer Solstice (2019). Although Do not worry, dear doesn’t have the same level of narrative subtlety as any of these films, there’s a lot to appreciate in this replaying suburban hellscape of Palm Springs, especially until the third act M. Night Shyamalan reveals the style that yields some pertinent questions the runtime doesn’t have. take the time to respond. However, Wilde’s film, perhaps unconsciously, utilizes a certain advantage in modern storytelling, where whitewashing or reinventing historical accuracies has become commonplace, but some rather glaring discrepancies, such as the progressive desegregation of this community, are likely to diminish what the film tries to do. present as a surprising revelation.
if before the war (2020) so brilliantly examines the reality of racism today, the message of Do not worry, dear ends up feeling a little confused. Perhaps this is indeed a scenario that we cannot extricate ourselves from the clutches of first-wave feminism enough to intelligently examine other intersections. Once the nature of this universe is revealed, he suggests a slew of more inventive subtexts that he could have effectively explored.
As emotionally astute as Pugh is in each scene, there’s nothing else operating on her level. Due to the significant tabloid fodder that is bound to marinate the film’s reception, an enhanced look will likely focus on surface elements. A case in point is Harry Styles as Jack, the script modified to account for his British accent following Shia LaBeouf’s infamous departure from the project, which in both character and performance has no impact or screen presence. Both Gemma Chan and KiKi Layne feel underutilized, and a burlesque cameo from a blonde Dita Von Teese does little to improve the shaky wow factor her presence should.
The casting of Chris Pine as the grinning Frank yields some pleasant moments (although he’s not a Patrick O’Neal from Stepford), and Wilde gives himself the juiciest supporting role as the scene stealing Bunny, even though she appears to be one. echo of Paula Prentiss and The Gossip Girl by Kathy Baker, Suburban Harpy at Tim Burton’s Edward Scissor Hands (nineteen ninety).
Aronofsky’s usual PD Matthew Libatique (who has just photographed The whale) does a good job of establishing the threat in this sunny sci-fi tale, while a standout score from John Powell is also a huge asset. Ultimately, Do not worry, dear needed to hit much harder on the logical fallacies presented in Frank’s brainwashing machine, referring to the idea that chaos is the enemy of progress. But progress requires some element of chaos to bring about change, while order often serves as the antithesis of progress conforming to tradition and archaic protocol (i.e., even a limited dichotomy between Republicans versus Democrats would have enhanced the subtexts beyond a simple gender division). Wilde’s film needed to implement a greater sense of these themes to convey not only what is happening, but why.
Revised September 5 at the 2022 Venice Film Festival – Out of Competition. 122 minutes
Source : www.ioncinema.com