Hedwig and the Angry Inch ★★★½

The style of Hedwig and the Angry Inch is so captivating and downright infectious. It unravels in a fractured yet carefully calculated way, at least from a tonal/visual standpoint, and there comes a point where the pure style of the film almost becomes its substance. It radiates a palpable energy though a punk exterior, cleverly integrated flashbacks, and a move towards the surreal and dreamlike as the film progresses. There are some truly standout sequences that just get you totally engrossed in this character, even though I find that this film worked more as a visual mood piece as opposed to a truly solid narrative. This seems to be a very on-brand thing for John Cameron Mitchell and his style (from the two films of his that i've seen), and while the energy and setpieces were always on point, I just wish that the same attention to detail was put into the actual characters and their motivations. For something as bombastic as this film can be, the moments that lie inbetween ended up ringing a little bit hollow.

Regardless of a narrative that could've used more fleshing out, the way that everything unfolded was so engaging. The musical numbers, the animated sequences, the flashbacks; it all felt like a beautiful collage of styles and segues that I ended up falling in love with by the end, even if the journey to get there wasn't always filled with narrative consistency. John Cameron Mitchell is truly a powerhouse in front of and behind the camera, and watching this even made me appreciate his other film, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, just a little bit more. I feel like the inconsistencies that I had with the narrative might become ironed out when I end up rewatching this, because this is a film with one intoxicating sense of style.

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