Movie of the Week: Midsommar (2019)

Ari Aster directs Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor and Will Poulter in this psychological thriller where an on-the-ropes couple go to a remote festival in Sweden; hallucinogenics, constant sun, rituals, dancing, folklore, jealousy and death ensue.

I didn’t rate Hereditary… a horror movie far too in love with itself to deliver. It was the involvement of Pugh and Poulter that got me into this. And if you take it as a horror it will dissatisfy again. Not particularly scary, quite predictable and… I think that’s OK in this instance. It is more a disorienting psychological thriller, akin to Repulsion or Don’t Look Now. The weirder elements belong in the warped service of the relationships we watch play out, reality disintegrates just as any trust or affection or compassion between the tourists do. The results are mad and unsettling, sometimes vibrantly splattering. Shocking, surreal imagery is salted finely throughout the measured runtime. Yet this is an apt drama about fucked up people in an even worse situation. A morality tale where disrespect for another’s culture results in punishment… though the locals expect, predict and need for these transgressions to happen to reach their target. A sad tale of a woman who expects too much from her weak willed lover. A kinky remake of The Wizard of Oz where no one goes home but at the very least a version of The Scarecrow, The Lion and The Man Behind The Curtain are with us by the close of play. A meditation on death, pain and attraction. I really liked it. The long patient pace, trippy set-pieces (pulsating flowers a-go-go, maypole endurance tests) and strange kills. And Florence Pugh is excellent in it. Our screening was slightly ruined by some rude cunts who were let in during the last five minutes and had a lengthy chat on the stairs. But that’s Cineworld Edinburgh for you.


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