Movie Review: A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
I don’t care what you need to do to go see this movie but you should go see Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night. Peter Jackson and every other bang wow maximalist should be forced to watch this movie until they learn that great style can come from minimal budgets and real world locations that don’t require any CGI.
A Girl Walks Home at Night brings up images of Film Noir, Jim Jarmusch, The Last Picutre Show, Ingmar Bergman, German Expressionism, and Italian Neo-Realism all rolled into one deadpan suspense masterpiece.
The movie takes place in a middle of nowhere Iranian oiltown with the evocative name of Bad City. The actual filming was done in Bakersfield and Ana Amirpour films this very real city with much more style and emotion than Frank Miller could give to his precious Sin City if he had all the money and technology in the world.
We mainly hang-out among the have-nots of Bad City especially an uncommonly good-looking (even by movie standards), hardworking but hardscrabble gardener named Arash. Arash lives with his junkie dad in a small flat near the tracks and loses his beloved Ford Thunderbird to a bullying and flashy drug dealer at the start of the film because his widowed dad can’t pay for his heroin. The other people we meet are a spoiled young woman whose day seems to revolve talking about getting wasted and getting wasted, a sex worker who has been walking the streets for longer than she would like to remember, a young boy, and a mysterious character only called The Girl.
The Girl listens to American music on vinyl and can easily be seen as a hipster with her Breton shirt, skinny jeans, lipstick, and Chucks. The only thing that sets her apart is the Chador that the Girl is required to wear because of the strict rules of the Islamic Iran.
The Girl has a secret though and this secret makes her far more deadly than meets the eye and makes her Chardor more threatening and deadly than it is modest. She begins to use it like Death from Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal and the characters may try to run from her unnerving appearance but they cannot hide for long. Arash is seemingly the only character who is not unnerved or frightened by The Girl and begins to develop of a bit of a crush on her.
The movie is not perfect. It drags at times and probably could have stood to be twenty or thirty minutes shorter. But it was still one of the most original movies I have seen in a while and like The One I Love, I am glad that people are still trying to be daring with plot, story, and conceit and be proud to fail a bit for the sake of being original.
The Performances are all stellar and the best part of the movie should be the lesson that great style does not need a large budget. I’ve written many times about my general growing contempt for the CGI-filled mega blockbusters and comic book franchises that I call bang wow movies. They are not all bad. Most of them are competently made and enjoyable to watch at the time but they don’t stick with me and I don’t really want to talk about them after the fact. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is a movie that I want to talk about and it does show that you can do great style on very little movie. The cinematography was crisp and contributed to a constant sense of dread and suspense through out the film. This is a town where even the rich and privileged lead repetitive and boring lives because there is not much to do except go to all-night house parties and do drugs. Oil Rigs show how boring the town is and how everyone is seemingly just wasting life and act as symbols of grave diggers.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is probably only playing on a select amount of screens and I am not sure it is available on streaming services yet but if you get an opportunity to see this movie, go see it.