Damsel Screen 4 articles



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  • Well. Robert Pattinson is outstanding, Mia Wasikowska is mighty strong, and I’ve always found David Zellner’s performances extraordinarily appealing. But the Zellners struggle with tone, slipping and sliding from the wry to the merely goofy and back again. Hopes that Damsel will eventually settle on just one and pull through rise and fall and rise and then fall again.

  • In its mad rush toward performative allyship, the film exhausts every possible means of conveying those bombshells, so shrill that the only option left unexplored is blaring on-screen text a la Godard. While the production design, star caliber, and slick filmmaking suggest a work of serious, measured cinema, Damsel ends up feeling like a festival-land breakout comedy short dragged out for two interminable hours. What's left is, indeed, the suspicion of having been taken for a ride.

  • It was desperate to dodge the familiar, though by swapping bathetic clichés for quirky po-mo ones it failed. It used to be hard to believe that the energy level of any film could drop after Robert Pattinson left the screen, but it’s so true here. . . . Self-conscious semi-accidental mishaps of the sort we’ve been seeing in revisionist westerns for decades now occur with less mirth than the directors the clearly thought they were achieving.

  • When it comes to Damsel capturing the look of the Old West, as seen not only in movies but in the great 19th-century American landscape paintings, the desert rocks, lakeshores and birch forests have a magnificent sweep. What the story might lack in earnestness, the photography, by Jeff Nichols’s regular Adam Stone, has a beauty that keeps the faith for a genre that refuses to die entirely.

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