Midsommar ★★★★★

There is a plethora of words to describe Ari Aster's second outing. So many words. But at the top is unique. Midsommar remains captivating from start to finish (unless you're particularly squeamish, pretty sure two people just up and left in my showing), with an intriguing premise and impeccable execution.

I still am yet to see Hereditary but next to this the impression is painted that Aster is a disturbed genius. You don't want to look away from this brutally twisted community he's created as the events continue to unfold in ways you cannot quite predict because of how insane it all is. His execution on the side of the script, the visual style, and even the sound which thoroughly threw me off for a while come together to create this experience that you have to give a try. You will likely walk away shocked, confused, maybe bewildered at best but this is some high tier Auteur cinema and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't invested.

Midsommar is eye-candy in some of the strangest ways. The production design is incredible, from the buildings to costumes, and the cinematography is very complimentary of it. I've read about this fairy tale look they were going for, riding the edge of over-exposure to give it that surreal glow, and it makes this film one of the most visually interesting for a while. Some beautiful moving shots and a lot of wides that really give the film some identity. A friend of mine made a good point about some super solid transitions. The beauty of less mainstream films is seeing what the creatives will get up to with the camera - Aster and Pawel Pogorzelski give audiences an absolute treat.

Sound design sticks out like a sore thumb but also hits every note they were aiming for. It really symbolises that rural Swedish community while also alluding the slightly cultish nature as it progressively gets more intense. It was a nice touch to often have it coming from the extras, just adding to that audience immersion.

Excellent performances all round. Florence Pugh is the leading lady in two of the years best films and now I'm definitely keeping an eye on her, as if Fighting with my Family wasn't already enough for me. This is the first film I genuinely like Jack Raynor in, his character is incredibly annoying in Age of Extinction and pretty damn forgettable for his appearance in On the Basis of Sex, but he restored himself a bit for me. Will Poulter is obviously great if we sidestep the fact I need to watch more of his roles. Even the supporting characters and extras did great jobs and there's no performance that drags you out. Likely that Aster, in handling lower budgets, has a good handle on directing actors.

Aster's incredible devotion to his concept and ability to draw the audience into a terrifying world give this film life with a selection of incredibly tense and well-filmed sequences with a sound style that keeps you on edge. I don't think there are any real flaws, this is exactly the film they wanted to make and I don't doubt that I've hardly scratched the surface.

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