This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Bode Sulaiman’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Some thoughts from a rewatch (in point form):
- I felt the length a little more this time around, mostly cause I knew what would happen, so I wasn’t entirely on edge like before. Still, so endlessly engrossing that it didn’t bother me at all.
- I have to admit that I was a little confused by the post-war Germany setting in my first viewing. Having a primer after (and before this viewing) benefitted a lot. Doesn’t feel like just a backdrop (especially with the “Volk” dance, which is one of many standout sequences).
- I thought a lot about what it has to say about guilt, power, shame and how we use our bodies as weapons of beauty and of pain (if that last part made any sense). A better person than I could parse through it better, but safe to say it shed even more light for me when it came to the character arcs (particularly Susie's and Josef's) and just how an dictatorship keeps running like it does.
- I think I underrated Dakota Johnson quite a bit here. Lot of remarkably subtle shifts she makes with Susie’s journey, all of them physical.
- Same deal with Mia Goth, who has the film's most likeable presence. Makes her growing suspicions of the coven and eventual severe body change all the more heartbreaking. She's the hidden MVP.
- Jessica Harper's appearance is short, but magical - especially with the warmth she and Tilda Swinton (under tons of makeup no less) share. A beautifully subtle nod to Argento's original.
- This got me to hit the "purchase" button on Thom Yorke's soundtrack work. Probably some of his best solo material since 2006's The Eraser.
- Adding to Johnson's performance, bits of dialogue - particularly one from her Mennonite mother - had me questioning if Susie was *always* Mater Suspiriorum from birth or if that transformation took place once she arrived at the dance academy. Maybe we'll never get a straight answer to it.
Even as I know that I definitely like it (perhaps even love), I’m still not fully sure where to land on this. However, the fact that I've seen this twice on the big screen (second movie I've done this with this year, following Black Panther) definitely says something.
It's like Guadagnino is asking me to step back inside the coven. Believe me, dear reader: I'm willing.