Thelma Screen 69 of 4 reviews

Thelma

2017

Thelma Poster
  • Brian De Palma's Carrie echoes through this Norwegian psychological thriller, which is subtler and more daring than its model... Trier links supernatural horror to repressed memories, raging hormones, and fundamentalist zealotry, crafting a sexy and unsettling brain-teaser.

  • The suspense in the film, for those who come to it cold, comes partly from the discovery of what sort of a film it is, as much as from what is going to happen or be revealed. When the conclusion arrives, it is not left ambiguous. Even if two enormous plot revelations—one revealed to us about the past, the other to Thelma about the nature of Anja’s love for her—feed both strands of the film with equal intensity, one still feels more fulfilled by the human story than by the superhuman one.

  • When Trier allows his thriller elements to freely bleed into his austere aesthetic—as in eerie long shots of biblical animals slithering and swooping into scenes where they don’t appear to belong and voyeuristic bird’s eye-view tableaus that locate Thelma from above as if from a creepy supernatural handler’s telescope—Thelma is scary and potent stuff, its methodical pacing at last feeling mesmerizing rather than slack.

  • The entire back half of Trier’s film feels like a constantly replaying scene, a locked cycle of action that ultimately reduces all of Thelma’s personal relationships to their most thematically bare relevance. Too much of the film feels like a school thesis, not the work of a major emerging filmmaker just hitting his stride, and a predictable finale ends things on a trite, obvious note that seems worlds away from the heart-stoppingly evocative opening that’s so lush with mystery and promise.

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