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Fantastic Fest 23' "Strange Darling" - movie review

Why are we so inexplicably drawn to the enigmatic world of serial killers? They represent the darkest depths of humanity, responsible for unimaginable pain, fear, and heartache. Yet, the allure of these predators lies in our primal instincts as humans, the ancient hunter lurking within us. In today's landscape, the term "predator" often conjures images of a white male figure in their 30s or 40s with a history of sexual and violent encounters. "Strange Darling" challenges our preconceptions about what makes a serial killer and explores the very essence of the hunt itself.

JT Mollner has crafted a cinematic experience in "Strange Darling" that is nothing short of beautiful, fierce, and grandiose.

Strange Darling stars Willa Fitzgerald and Kyle Gallner on what might be one of the most unconventional Tinder dates imaginable. Their rendezvous is driven by a primal desire that some find irresistible. In a sense, "Strange Darling" can be seen as a film about kink, highlighting how our society's perception of sexual exploration has evolved. It delves into the complexities of our desires and the importance of understanding our partners' intentions, especially in the bedroom. It dispels the notion that pornography is solely responsible for shaping our sexual culture, emphasizing that it's more about the individual's psyche.

This film serves as a social commentary, prompting viewers to reflect on the significance of respecting one another's boundaries and desires. It reminds us that when we encounter someone with different preferences, it's best to approach with caution.

Strange Darling is a film that will captivate your attention from start to finish. Willa Fitzgerald delivers a phenomenal performance, while Kyle Gallner continues to establish himself as a leading man in the industry. It's hard to overshadow Willa's remarkable portrayal, but JT Mollner has created a film that will undoubtedly resonate with many women, making it their equivalent of "Rocky." The inclusion of Ed Begley Jr. and Barbara Hershey in the cast adds a delightful touch to the movie, although the true strength lies in its production.

Strange Darling is arguably one of the best-shot films of the year, boasting exquisite cinematography that elevates its visual storytelling. Giovanni Ribsi's performance breathes life into the film, showcasing his mastery of the craft. The beauty of Strange Darling extends beyond its stunning visuals; it features precise editing and an exceptional musical score by American recording artist Z-Berg.

In essence, Strange Darling is an instant classic. JT Mollner has a cinematic gem on his hands, and it's bound to spark engaging discussions around water coolers once audiences experience it. Every generation has its films that occupy a unique space, offering unparalleled entertainment, and "Strange Darling" is poised to be one of those unforgettable movies.

Rating: 5/5

Strange Darling is written and directed by JT Mollner ("Outlaws and Angels") and stars Willa Fitzgerald ("The Goldfinch," "Reacher"), Kyle Gallner ("Smile," "Dinner in America"), Ed Begley Jr. ("Better Call Saul," "A Mighty Wind"), and Barbara Hershey ("Black Swan," "Insidious," "The Last Temptation of Christ").

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