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Streaming Selections: The Girl With All The Gifts

written by rick May 27, 2017
Streaming Selections: The Girl With All The Gifts

Poised somewhere between the fast-zombie viscera of 28 Days Later and the existential unease of Ex Machina, with a dose of Cronenbergian sympathy for the virus thrown in for good measure, The Girl With All The Gifts is micro-targeted to a very particular horror fanbase. They (we) will enjoy it very much.

The feature film debut from prolific TV director Colm McCarthy, The Girl With All The Gifts takes its time in the early going. We grow accustomed to some sort of Hostel-like, dystopian basement full of orange jumpsuit-clad children in wheelchairs and restraints before McCarthy reveals the hell on earth transpiring just outside the doors. The film is stronger for his restraint.

The lead performances are strong, particularly Gemma Atherton as an empathetic teacher and the young Sennia Nanua in the uncanny title role. Glenn Close, the most famous name in the cast, is somewhat ironically the loose link, showing up at opportune moments to spell out the plot for the slower viewers in the audience. But even Close rises above the material she’s given: The Girl With All The Gifts mostly rolls out its thoughtful narrative with confidence.

Particular moments prove haunting: the very fact that these fast zombies are also notable for their motionlessness until triggered makes for some creepy tableaux. The entire world seems divided between breathless lurking and manic violence, which keeps The Girl With All The Gifts on something of a permanent edge.

This is a confident film that manages, against all odds, to find a unique take on familiar horror beats you might think have been exhausted at this point. Its closing, shocking if inevitable, is startlingly humane, particularly for a film focused on the decidedly inhuman.

(Streaming on Amazon Prime)

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De Palma 

The world of cinema enthusiasts may, in fact, be divided into two groups: those who consider Brian De Palma talking non-stop at a camera for two hours a gift from the Gods, and those who would consider that fucking insufferable and rather stab themselves repeatedly in the eyes, possibly in an ostentatious split-screen take.

Where do you fall? This De Palma-heavy doc will solve the riddle. By turns engrossing, irritating, illuminating, and uniformly confirming of the fact that Brian De Palma is a Grade A creepazoid, De Palma is still a must for fans and detractors alike. (As a bonus, Amazon Prime is also streaming The Wedding Party right now, if you’d like to know what a wacky, screen-debuting Robert De Niro looked and sounded like. Hint: it’s almost exactly what Robert De Niro continues to look and sound like.)

(Streaming on Amazon Prime)

Get Me Roger Stone

You know who’s an asshole?

Roger Stone. Roger Stone is an asshole.

This Netflix doc explores the various nooks and crannies of his unparalleled assholery.

(Streaming on Netflix)

Mulholland Drive

With the release of Twin Peaks Season 3, now might be a good time to revisit David Lynch’s puzzle-box masterpiece. Naomi Watts has never been better than in her star-making turn, effortlessly channeling Lynch’s sensibilities in her dual role, and enough details accumulate throughout Mulholland Drive to keep it perpetually mysterious and enthralling. Silencio.

(Streaming on Netflix)

The Gleaners and I

Part depiction of urban/rural life, part celebration of inherent human dignity, and part meditation on what it means to pick up pieces of other’s lives and mold them into a film, the great Agnes Varda’s The Gleaners and I is quiet and lovely.

If you are tired of listening to Brian De Palma talk about himself, or Roger Stone talk about himself, or David Lynch talk about … whatever Mulholland Drive is getting at, this might be a welcome retreat into observational, personal filmmaking.

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