1 November 2016 | PeterPan158
Powerful experience that stays with you, but something is missing...
I watched the movie without knowing anything about the real case of Olga Hepnarova and so I didn't know what to expect.
I must say the movie succeeded in creating the atmosphere of depression, social detachment and schizophrenia and portrayed Olga Hapnerova as a very complex and complicated being, and especially the second half of the movie is very chilly and revealing in terms of the personality and especially that part is very well played by Michalina Olszanska.
It is definitely worth watching although, you can't get rid of the feeling that certain things in terms of filmmaking didn't fit quite well into the whole picture.
The movie is black and white, and almost completely without music. That is a very good idea, because it mimics the inner world of Olga and translate it to the audience. Black and white movies can really do the job as with Sindler list or The Turin horse, provided that other elements fit into the mosaic. There were long and still takes which sometimes focused solely on Olga's face, which I found bit odd because sometimes maybe it would be much better to shift to camera focus on people around following her gaze and how she look at the world rather than trying to decipher that from her face. For example in We Need To Talk About Kevin (which has almost identical story- just different context) Lynne Ramsay done excellent job in doing just that by fragmenting narrative and focusing camera on miniscule details of what is significant for the character psyche. Another thing is that the movie felt a bit disintegrated at times. For people that don't know anything about the real case, it's hard to decipher what happened or where are we in the story exactly. It felt kind arrogant to the viewers as it expected that we all know everything about the story already and that the movie works only as a visual media to translate the story fact to fact in the shortest possible time.
Having said all that, this is a powerful movie with great performance at times by the lead actress and with some deep psychological nuances of the character, who you can't help but sympathize with and/or understand on some level. I would definitely add to the WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN category where the main character -although antihero and "evil" of the story, has a very complex reasons and personality. Which is great, because in today's society we need more stories and movies that could explain seemingly random or evil acts in such a complex and socially interconnected way. In fact if you know anything about psychology of "evil", you know that it's almost always a reflection of how those murderers were treated either by society or their parents, caregivers or peers. Here I agree with a previous review that, movie as such would benefit much more from more scenes of the family interactions or history (for example in Flashback maybe).
Overall, this is very powerful psychological drama that certainly delivers the chill and a lot to think about. So definitely worth watching.