Queen of Earth

Queen of Earth ★★★½

Not the best work from Alex Ross Perry narratively speaking with a lacking script that only momentarily displays flashes of weight in its dialogue. The film, however, might be Perry’s most accomplished project execution-wise which isn’t surprising considering the collaborative team he was able to assemble for Queen of Earth.

Sean Price Williams continues to be one of the finest American cinematographers working today and his work here only further reinforces that claim. There’s nothing flashy about it, yet his use of close-ups, the framing choices, along with the natural lighting culminate to provide a much-needed layer to the narrative actions, grounding them in reality no matter how implausible and silly things become. Additional tension is applied generously to the proceedings as his camera persistently encroaches upon the personal spaces of the characters at a deliberate pace, small infinitesimal increments invading the comfort zones of the mind game recipients.

Keegan DeWitt supplies yet another impressive score. After his contribution to Listen Up Philip, coupled with his work here, it appears DeWitt has the ability to set the tone of a film no matter the thematic framework. His score amplifies the undercurrent of animosity laid out by Williams’ work and the interactions between Moss, Waterston and Fugit. The marriage of DeWitt’s score with the cinematography of Williams elevates Queen of Earth from the middling indictment of bourgeois boredom Perry is offering with his trifling psychodrama.

Unfortunately, there are moments wherein DeWitt’s work is needlessly thrust into the forefront where it quickly becomes grating and overbearing. This isn’t due to any fault of the score, but more so on the part of the narrative itself as it stalls out for a period of time. The stagnation of the storyline’s development quickly becomes detrimental to the accompanying elements. With the film building towards nothing it leaves the rest to cycle through itself, the repetition of which becomes taxing with the compelling nature of the amatuer social experiment decaying amidst pulled-back curtains. To call the nature of Queen of Earth’s narrative compelling is to be generous, though. Perry tips his hand entirely too early to maintain intrigue for the drawn-out proceedings that follow until the inevitable reveal, which plays more as a reiteration.

Obliviously, Moss and Waterston are fantastic with their emotionally-draining performances. I don’t think I need to expound on those two.

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