Mark Jenkins directs Mary Woodvine, Edward Rowe and John Woodvine in this experimental chiller where a lone woman explores a deserted Cornish island with daily uniformity.
People trust that rockabilly quiff. Yet sometimes Mark Kermode will praise to high heaven a movie that only really has a British director (who, like he, went to public school) and a Seventies vibe in its arsenal. Real slogs. And because he is genuinely articulate and passionate about all cinema – and actively doesn’t truck with Transformer movies or Roland Emmerich – the broadsheet / Radio 4 / premium podcast listening belly breathers think his opinion is untouchable. They never approach these wildly personal recommends (the impenetrable work of Carol Morley, the bang average looking Encounter) with the essential caveat of “Yes… but would I enjoy this saggy bag of pretentious bollocks over the latest Michael Bay entertainment?” ‘Cos they’ve tied their flag to one of the most idiosyncratic voices in middle class film criticism. So when they all start walking out of my screening of Enys Men half an hour in… is it really forgivable? By now they surely must know just because a film smells a bit like like Nicolas Roeg that don’t, in any way, mean the general ticket buying public will find any comforts within it. Their champion Kermode benefits from championing, his readers / listeners are unlikely to have the same motivations and immersive back stop of viewing eccentricities to fall back on. He was at the Scala in the early Eighties, crusaded to get rereleases of the original cuts of The Exorcist and The Devils. His bonafides are unquestionable but if you are only getting your film criticism from one source then chances are your cinematic palettes are a bit too stunted for Enys Men. Hence a third of the audience disrupting the mood and voting with their feet just as things were gently ramping up. C’mon guys… unexpected lichen has appeared!!! Turns out Enys Men is my kinda late night thing. I saw all its influences and its open yet obtuse intentions and I wholeheartedly went with it. The colours explode on the big screen, 5p seaside town newsagent postcards come to life. I like the forced poetry of it. The spooky, the experimental, the candle being snuffed out and the jump cut to daybreak. My take on the time slip and the apparitions and the repetitions worked for out me. I was invested in the puzzler aspect. I appreciated the mutating headfuck. Husband and wife team Jenkins and Woodvine locked me in with their hermit stylings. For me, for Mark, but for you? Make up your own mind.
Perfect Double Bill: Berberian Sound Studio (2012)
My wife and I do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/
I love Kermode’s Schtick often more than the films he champions. Terrific passion.
Bait was weirdly compelling so interested in this one.
Could not fathom Kermode giving recent horror Censor 5 stars?
St Maud though was superb.
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