This sprawling, 2 hour, 42 minute movie likely will be seen as one of the important creations of the decade. Variety described it as “femme-driven corrective to…”Spring Breakers””, and “Part dreamy millennial picaresque, part distorted tapestry of Americana and part exquisitely illustrated iTunes musical,” the phrase “Midwestern America Walpurgis Night” came to my mind. “…Almost ridiculously full of life…” was another account. Most of all, it is a story of how a post-Christian America can go awry, told through the classic medium of a road trip. Instead of the blood and flesh of Christ at Holy Communion, here the serving is toxic mezcal and eating the worm inside the bottle, for cash of course. The other parallels I do not wish to give away.
In terms of cinematography and especially soundtrack, it’s as strong as any movie in recent times. Scene after scene felt special and memorable, and only about ten minutes or so dragged. I kept on thinking it couldn’t keep up its pace of quality, but it did and in fact kept surpassing itself. Sasha Lane deserves the Best Actress Oscar, and in her film debut at that. I just ordered everything I can by British director Andrea Arnold.
Recommended (re)reading for a viewing includes Genesis, most of all the story of Jacob, his family, and his wrestle with the angel. But don’t expect the reviews to mention any of that — Ross Douthat, telephone!
Remember people, the influential thinkers of the next generation will be the religious ones…whether you like it or not.