stevie’s review published on Letterboxd:
You ever wish the movie theater had a brightness button?
Some very vital subject matter paired with one of the best casts of any movie released in the past decade unfortunately watered down by an overbearingly sensational and heavy-handed approach. Sarah Polley has made phenomenal films in the past, but with this one I can feel her strenuous reach for Oscar gold.
The color grading has been a talking point and even if it is intentional to be so washed out, the amount of detail lost in each frame — whether blown out by light or clipped by shadow — cannot find justification. The editing as well seems to take a page from the Jean-Marc Vallee school of visual callbacks but ends up with on-the-nose cutting that spells out every message in layman’s terms, which demonstrates a lack of trust in the audience as it boxes in the narrative to only have the simplest and most obvious of takeaways.
As for the ensemble, I do find it interesting that the best performance comes not from the biggest and highest names on the billing but rather from Judith Ivey as one of the colony’s elders. An actress who makes the other performers look straight out of community theater.
I’ve been back and forth because I do find the story itself to be very strong. In wonky execution however, the edge becomes blunted.