Now I've had two different reactions to this film and I can't remember ever having something like this happen before. The first reaction was my own after viewing the film and the second after deciding to seek out some reviews from critics (I don't often do that but now and then). To put it mildly this film, so far, is generally disliked quiet a bit by critics, however I believe I have watched a completely different film to everyone else because I enjoyed the film from start to finish. So much so that I thought it was good !
Why did I think it was so good ! Directing, acting, story and pace. The directing was sublime from start to finish, a really clean and beautiful film to watch (helped by the location it was shot). Never heard of Vaughn Stein, to be honest but he can definitely direct a film. He has got a lot of talent that I'd like to see more of in the future. Acting, for the most part I'd say is spot on. Before going in you know that Casey and Michelle are gonna be solid, as they have been their whole careers. Its the other ancillary characters that make the film more solid because there performances also are believable.........well apart from one performance at times, more on that in a bit.
The story is a fascinating one, its dark just as a warning. This isn't a fun film at all however that doesn't mean that its overly depressing and sad all the time. Its a complex one (on the surface) that has a lot of story threads going on at the same time, each getting there fair share of screen time. Plus there is a satisfying conclusion ! Lastly I'd say is the pace of the film, which yes moves at a slow pace. This film is 100% a slow burn however for a film under 2 hours it does pack a lot into its runtime and doesn't feel too long or short. To be honest I never really felt there was a lull in the film.
So there are all the plus points................ Now the negatives and there are some negatives which actually most critics have pointed out and I agree with. Firstly the casting of Sam Claflin, which is a strange one because I'm not sure if I like it or not. One minute I think "yeah he is great" and then the next minute I'm thinking "Oh god what on earth is he doing?". It can be very over the top now and then which can be a bit caricature, which is also very jarring ! So I understand if you don't like this film for his performance.
Although on the surface the story is complex and interesting, on repeat viewing (and hindsight) it will become quite ordinary. There are certain things and scenes that happen, which almost seem too good to be true and too convenient. However in the moment of watching it for the first time you don't think that, its only later you realise.
So overall I am still shocked with the reviews coming out about this film, even though I can understand the criticisms being aimed at it. I still really really enjoyed the experience and can't lie when I like something even though everyone else might not. This is definitely an example of why I don't usually give any weight to critic reviews because some people are making out like this is one of the worst films ever made.........trust me even its bad parts aren't that bad ! At bare minimum this film is average.
Watch it yourself and make your own mind up............To me though, it had a great cast, workable story and characters, with an interesting twist and a satisfying conclusion. Is this film gonna change cinema, No. Is it a decent thriller to watch, Yes........maybe I'm alone in thinking this or not, end of the day I'm not gonna lose sleep over this film haha. 70% out of 100.