This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Nicolò Grasso’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Some random takeaways from my second viewing:
- how Glenn Gould's music is used during Jack's more artistic moments is pretty brilliant, especially since an orchestral version of the same piece comes back twice during the Katabasis to hell;
- each kill represents the growth of the artist/murderer: the first, messy one --> the methodical one that still feels incomplete, followed by experimentation --> the group one, where the corpses become true trophies that can be taxidermied --> the personal one, where part of the victim becomes a constant reminder of his art --> the masterpiece, which hearkens back to icons he glorifies;
- Jack's acts are never justified or glorified here, and while the first two kills present some light moments (the annoying blabbering and the OCD cleaning), the third incident is the one that is so cruel, there is no turning back from it. Even Verge finally reacts with disgust to the stories he's being told;
- the same film without the constant metaphors wouldn't work in the same way, and they need the explanation (you can't just make a metaphor and leave it hanging);
- the Katabasis is one of the best sequences of any film in 2018, where each shot holds powerful meaning, and on a purely superficial level it's just really impressive;
- Hell is both personal and shared, where Jack's artistic ambitions are met with claustrophobia and a lack of escape;
- one of the best moments in the whole film is Jack seeing the Elysian Fields: he finally shows regret for what he has done, even for just a little bit, and sees that the cruelty he has pursued in life amounted to nothing, and now inner peace is impossible to reach;
- Verge purposefully leads Jack to see the deepest depth of Hell. That is where he belongs, and Verge is fully aware that it's impossible for him to reach the other side of the room that leads to Heaven. There is no salvation for the artist, he has to live the consequences of his actions;
- the final shot is enigmatic: if in the negative you can see the darkness of the light, in the darkest depths of Hell do you find the lightness of the dark?
I absolutely love this film. A perfect blend of dark humor, drama, thriller, philosophy, and art. Yep, can't wait to dig into this again in the future!