Payne’s Picks

By Sarah Payne

Movies coming out

The Killing of a Sacred Deer – November 3rd – Some of my favorite Colin Farrell movies these past few years have been on the quirky side – In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths, and most recently The Lobster. In The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Farrell teams up again with The Lobster director Yorgos Lanthimos for a chilling thriller that has left many critics divided on their reviews of the film. Farrell plays a surgeon forced to make a sacrifice after a teenage boy he takes under his wing, Martin (played by Dunkirk’s Barry Keoghan), turns on him. In an interview with The Atlantic, Lanthimos gives background on the plot: “…the initial thoughts were around the oddity of a very young person (Martin) trying to get revenge over something an older person has done. And that kind of dynamic, that a teenager can actually terrorize someone grown-up and mature.” Trace Thurman at Bloody Disgusting writes that several people walked out during his screening, but asserts that The Killing of a Sacred Deer, “will be the most unsettling film you see this year.” I guess Halloween isn’t over, after all?

Daddy’s Home 2 – November 10th – I didn’t have high expectations for the first Daddy’s Home, so I never saw it in theaters. But I recently caught it on demand at home and loved the dynamic between Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. It’s ridiculous and silly, for sure (which Ferrell film isn’t?). For the sequel, Wahlberg’s and Ferrell’s characters finally get along, until their dads come to town for the holidays. Seems Hollywood has finally forgiven Mel Gibson, because he plays one of the dads, opposite John Lithgow. I wouldn’t waste your money seeing this one in theaters, but I bet it will be decent enough to stream at home in a couple of months.

Movie review

Wind River – If you’ve been following my column for the past few years, you know I love thrillers. Even without perfect character development, a thriller can still keep my attention if it has a good enough plot. Such is the case with Wind River. The film focuses a wildlife officer, played by Jeremy Renner, who finds the body of an 18-year-old on an American Indian reservation. Elizabeth Olsen is the FBI agent called in to work on the case. The most riveting scenes are the ones where Renner and Olsen’s characters get close to discovering the criminals involved in the woman’s disappearance. There are also some heartbreaking flashbacks to the night of her disappearance. My only problem with the film is those scenes are few and far between. Too much time is spent in the melodrama of grief and heartbreak. One scene would be enough, but director Taylor Sheridan revels in it in Wind River. Picture lots of close ups of men crying. The producers also make an odd dedication at the end of the film to the lack of statistics on missing native American women. Is native American violence an issue? Is the film based on a true story? We’ll never know because it’s not explained.

Mother! – No other film has garnered as much controversy this year as Mother! – a film from director Darren Aronofsky – about a poet, played by Javier Bardem, and his young, devoted wife, played by Jennifer Lawrence. People either love or hate the film. I understand where the haters are coming from. They don’t like how the plot unravels into utter chaos, nonsense, and absurdity in the last half hour. What begins as a reasonable, if mysterious plot, is taken to the extreme – to the point where I was laughing during scenes I don’t think were intended to be funny. But if you’ve seen any of Aronofsky’s previous work, like Requiem for a Dream or Black Swan, you know he has an unconventional style. He likes to make you guess what’s real and what’s imagined by the characters. What frustrated me most about Mother! is the whole lesson or message of the film is rather simple – that Lawrence’s character must sacrifice everything she has for the happiness of others. I’m not sure this lesson requires the extravagant, over-the-top ending its given. If nothing else, Mother! will certainly keep your attention. It’s evident how particular Aronofsky is with every detail of a scene and every word that is spoken.