A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night Screen 32 articles

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

2014

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night Poster
  • There’s a dash of Jim Jarmusch’s woozy hipness, evident in the crisply composed cinematography, the many über-cool needle drops and the choice recurring image of our exsanguinating heroine sidling through the empty city streets on a skateboard... Yet there’s still a sense that Amirpour is too in thrall to her influences and not fully in control of her effects (too many pregnant pauses between characters that don’t suggest unspoken depths of feeling so much as actors uncertainly stranded).

  • A Girl is best appreciated as a kind of cross-cultural papier-mâché sculpture, with a surface pasted with signifiers and quotations and a hollow interior shaped like Iran. In other words, it’s something for affect-and-absence-minded media studies types to chew on, provided they can get past the fact that, for much of the movie, nothing happens, and it’s not the rigorous, locked-in nothing of the long-take art film, but the slow-motion, music-montage nothing of the artsy American indie.

  • Writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour displays an eclectic range of stylistic influences—Eraserhead and spaghetti westerns in addition to vampire movies and skateboarding videos—but for all the visual ambition, this doesn't add up to anything terribly substantial.

  • To be fair to Amirpour, she’s not gunning for straight storytelling and has deliberately fashioned a film that aims to play with genre ideas. The critical problem is there is no energy in the playing. Scenes are slow to the point of stasis. The only pulse comes from satisfying, eclectic music selections: haunting eastern strings, electronica and Sergio Leone-style chorals.

  • A sly, slinky creeper set in an imaginary Iranian underworld — appropriately realized in glistening black and white — U.S.-based writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour’s auspicious debut feature spices its genre stew with elements of Lynchian neo-noir and even spaghetti Western, but the film’s pointed, contemporary gender politics are very much its own.

  • Though Amirpour has clearly huffed on the fumes of Lynch, Jarmsuch, Leone, and Tarantino's oeuvres, to dismiss A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night as simply an act of hipster appropriation is to cop out, because appropriation, in fact, is the film's thematic meat... [The film's] socio-cultural inquiry can hit like a blunt-force trauma, but the duets between the vampire and her lover act as bewitching leavening agents.

  • ...A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night [is less sustained than The Babadook, but] nonetheless generates some powerful political metaphors.

  • At least two virtuoso scenes in music-video style - vampire rises slowly as Morricone music explodes on the soundtrack; vampire turns ve-e-ery slowly, right at the edge of frame, as hero approaches and 'Death' by the White Lies fills the air - but plotting is slack in the final third, after the lady finds love.

  • With its nocturnal outcasts coolly roaming semi-industrial streets and transfigured by music, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night begs comparison to Jim Jarmusch. Yet its simmering sense of discontent and alienation—inspired by director Ana Lily Amirpour’s own dissociative feelings while wearing a chador on a previous shoot—expand into a subtle commentary on sexual politics in Iran.

  • Amirpour’s wide-screen, high-contrast black-and-white images heighten the familiar mood of low-rent high style, but her greater gift is choreographic: she ramps up suspense through the actors’ sinuous glides and dreamlike stillness, and she conjures magic with the rhythms of a few striking cuts.

  • Drowsily paced, the film spins its wheels for sizable swatches but regularly blooms into poetic kitsch, especially once The Girl sheds her signature cloak in her disco-ball flat and rocks out. In the end, this morphing of ideas and styles is more deadpan romantic than sociocritical, and sweeter for it.

  • The plot’s tired blood is jumped up considerably by style; all in all, it's an intoxicating blend of eerie horror and ’80s pop, made by an artist to keep an eye on.

  • If you don’t mind narrative repetition and passages in which nothing much happens, beyond pretty people staring at other pretty people, you may not mind that she has trouble filling this overlong movie, which comes in at 107 minutes, when 70 would have done nicely. Still, [Amirpour] gives you much to look at... The image [of Madonna in the Girl's bedroom] reflects the movie’s humor and feminism, and suggests Ms. Amirpour’s complex relationship to appropriation.

  • Amirpour almost gets away with some of the nothing that happens — it’s like a Marjane Satrapi graphic novel with a John Hughes sense of hormones and mixtape. (You could watch this with the sound off, but the electro-pop soundtrack’s too good.) She’s got a handle on drollery and vibrant framing. This movie is funny and hot. The Girl drops her fangs the way a switchblade pops out of its casing. I jumped. Then I laughed, not at myself for jumping, but because Amirpour is having a Polanski moment.

  • Amirpour's almost exclusive focus on nighttime exteriors in weird industrial locations (i.e., Bakersfield's oil refineries, factories, and railroad yards) recalls the nightmarish atmosphere of her hero David Lynch's ERASERHEAD but, combined with her impeccable taste in pop-music cues, creates a dreamy/druggy vibe that is both entrancing and wholly her own.

  • This being [Amirpour's] debut film, the effort can feel a bit like genre stuntsmanship at times. But over the course of the experiment, A Girl Walks Home evolves into something far subtler and more evocative. This is a film that shocks us right out of the gate with its novelty, then metastasizes into a cry of defiance.

  • Amirpour develops a unique perspective on the volatility of relationships. Much of the plot revolves around the interactions between Arash and his undead love interest, a character Vand inhabits with a sense of melancholy. Their courtship often hinges on unspoken compromises, a pleasurable development thanks to the actors’ ability to convey a range of emotions sans dialogue.

  • Easily the most gruesome scene is the one of his dispatch, a vividly shot and cut rhapsody in bleccch. It’s the dramatic zenith of a film that sometimes feels intimidatingly cool, and too self-consciously downbeat. Your first guess is that Amirpour never met a Jim Jarmusch film she didn’t like, but given that she’s denied this in interviews, it’s must be more a case of accidentally twinned stylebooks: the deadpan glaze never comes off.

  • Amirpour’s film has the crispness and finesse of a music video. Every gesture is choreographed, every frame is arresting, every sound edit perfectly placed. When it works, this considered pace is arresting, but what works in moments of intensity can pall across the narrative arc.

  • A deliberately paced film filled with striking images, ethereally beautiful people, and one wonderfully expressive cat, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night has already drawn comparisons to early Jim Jarmusch for its deadpan humor and cool.

  • For a premise that might seem to guarantee all cult and no substance, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is one of the most intangibly entertaining art films to come along in a while. Part graphic novel, part Western, part David Lynch, with some film noir thrown in for good measure, it brings together a plethora of visual references to create something that’s much greater than the sum of its parts—and its parts, for the record, are indelibly memorable.

  • Amirpour has fashioned a remarkably good pastiche of an American widescreen, black-and-white genre film of the late 1950s or early 1960s, as this image and the one at the bottom of this entry demonstrate. As the Variety review points out, the look is also informed by graphic novels, notably Sin City. Indeed, this summer Amirpour has published a brief graphic novel with the same title as her film; it’s apparently a prequel to the movie’s story.

  • [The] film feels like an elaborately punkish code-scrambling gesture rather than a fully formed organic statement, but that doesn’t matter—it has style, grace, and imagination, and as artistic gestures go, could hardly be more devil-may-care. By the time it takes a final Aldrich-esque drive into the shadows, A Girl Walks Home has more than earned your attention—and got you wondering where that shadow-steeped road leads, either for its romantic duo or for Amirpour as audacious writer-director.

  • As seductive and foreboding as its title—a simple, declarative sentence that encompasses many mysteries—Ana Lily Amirpour’s debut feature reanimates and restores the sexiness of the vampire movie, held for too long as the undead hostage of the purity-ring-preaching Twilight franchise.

  • The number of influences here could have made "A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night" yet another movie-mad parody or an arch exercise in style; instead, the film launches itself into a dreamspace of its own that has a unique power and pull. The images are suggestive and symbolic, resonant with intersecting meanings and emotion, nothing too spelled out or underlined.

  • [The] cinematography adds immeasurably to its moody affect. The black-and-white color scheme and shallow depth of field blur out the background, making lights appear like smudgy orbs. Hard shadows fall onto the contours of the girl's pronounced cheekbones, making her features all the more angular and delicate. The girl trails after her victims on the desolate streets, not so much a predator as a deeply lonely figure: a shadow doggedly trailing after a human being, a point of possible contact.

  • The contrast between darks and lights in this stunning black-and-white film, shot in widescreen by Lyle Vincent, is so strong that it borders on the meretricious. Amirpour also delineates strictly between innocence and culpability, her refined feeling for typage congruent with the genre. But other, more original oppositions place Amirpour outside the box of the merely with-it...

  • Amirpour’s striking compositions borrow from the iconography of both the Western and the horror film — wide, evocative vistas are intercut with dark, tense city streets where shadowy figures follow one another. But the director also draws playful connections between these genres and the symbols of modern Iran... The whole movie exists in a netherworld that is impossible, but somehow also feels right.

  • In this city, all characters are thrillingly hyper-stylized, cobbled together from disparate references to American, European, and Iranian pop culture. They are neither teenagers nor adults; neither predators nor prey. These characters speak only Farsi, but they make their homes among the abandoned factories and power plants of Bakersfield, California. They move through a space that is neither entirely Iranian nor American, but distinctly, insistently, informed by both places.

  • Such striking images reach beyond the screen and burn themselves into our consciousness. Amirpour’s debut is a truly arresting work of art.

  • Amirpour‘s debut feature, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, is an amalgam of stylistic influences, including—but certainly not limited to—spaghetti westerns, ’50s teenage movies, atmospheric horror films, and ’80s Jim Jarmusch. For this reason, she is being called “the next Tarantino,” but a more fitting comparison may be to another, younger auteur: Xavier Dolan, whose films share Amirpour’s hip aesthetic and clear affection for beautiful scenes of slow motion set to pop songs.

  • The Girl’s unflinching eye-contact and commanding chador-clad physical presence is unwavering. Her unnerving demeanour is only tempered by the fact that she is in situations that usually demand that women make themselves as invisible as possible. Hers is an often comic and sometimes violent act of taking back the night, set to a killer soundtrack. A slow-motion setpiece built around White Lies’ “Death” is a memorable highlight.

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