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MOVIE REVIEW: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

May 27th, 2015 by Conor ONeill Comments

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A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (15)
Directed by: Ana Lily Amirpour
Starring: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi & Marshall ManeshRunning time: 101 min

In the Iranian ghost-town Bad City, a place that reeks of death and loneliness, the townspeople are unaware they are being stalked by a lonesome vampire.

With many debuts you sit un-easily in your seat. Will this be good, have we found the newest talent in town or is this going to be sh#t upon from a great height by the great gods of film? I can say without casting a shadow, director/writer Ana Lily Amipour has delivered – and will hopefully redeliver with such great scope and excitement.

Set in Iran we meet Bad City, a town destitute. The movie scatters its oats wildly; Cadillac car with the top dropped down, pimps, alienation, a skateboard, junkies, boredom and a film jumping back and forth twixt the 19th century to the modern leaves the played watcher watching more. Oh, and a fanged Dracula is thrown in to the mix too; this time with the XX chromosome. Yes, this is a kind of a vampire movie… but as it jumps clear of many clichés and genre focused naturals it still regains a certain dragging honesty.

Actress Sheila Vand plays the girl from whom the picture takes its name. Arash Marandi plays Arash. Maybe this was written with him in mind? Love, lust, the boom and the bust makes a perfect backdrop for this lovely flick. Solid industrialisation is the background here. Don’t be expecting beautiful Turkish Delight type scenes of sand swimming itself over copious dunes as the moon skirts over the skies. We’re in Bad City. But, and it’s a major one, this is a love story. A love story which will put many cherries off love for life; the submissive but pining Arash or the Girl all title across the boundaries, shaking, quaking and baking with lust.

I don’t know where or when the idea to shoot this movie in black and white arose, but what a good choice it was. Cinematographer Lyle Vincent should and could win awards for this, and they will be well deserved. The score is unique, not in a bad way but just behind your head. It takes a central role in the movie; more a reflection of ill-feeling, a masochistic reliance lending to the plot. This was shot in LA, by my calculation a million or more miles from Bad City Iran. The black and white, the plot, the acting, cinematography, and the whole feel for the movie left me entrenched with feelings of angst, fear, love, lust and down right of what is right and wrong.

Go see this film. It will make a mark on you. For good or bad, isn’t that’s life’s about?

4 Nerds out of 5

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Conor O'Neill is at times a playwright and a qualified journalist. He has worked for the Belfast Telegraph, Portadown Times and South Belfast Advertiser. He also contributes to various online e-zines, specialising in theatre, gig reviews and other cultural events. If you were to ask him what he does, he will say 'I'm functioning'... that's a lie. Best suited to pressure and deadlines, O'Neill thrives on the moment, the passion and the thrill of now, he's only happy when he's watching or reviewing a play.

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