By Amanda Gilmore
Ti West brings us back to the killer farm from his hit slasher X, but this time to tell us the origin story of psycho-biddy Pearl (Mia Goth).
The Film takes place decades before X, in 1918. The war is happening in Europe and influenza has swept its way across America. Because of this, Pearl has been trapped and isolated on her family’s farm tending to her ill father (Matthew Sunderland) and enduring her cruel, controlling mother (Tandi Wright). However, Pearl has had enough of her life on the farm and dreams of becoming a star. She wants her new life so bad, that she’ll kill for it.
Co-Writers West and Goth have brought us a riveting character study of a murderess. Pearl is mesmerizing from the first moment we see her. West and Goth have achieved creating a sinister character we feel conflicted by. This tug-of-war with our emotions works due to the insurmountable performance from Goth. Her full commitment makes us sympathize with a psycho-killer. Both her performance and the script give Pearl depth that causes us to relate.
However, we are constantly shown how her short fuse leads to merciless acts of violence. And the kills in this one are to die for. There are pitchforks, axes, and that alligator from X is back — waiting patiently for its feed. But again, West and Goth humanize their murderess. And even after everything we’ve witnessed her do, an enthralling monologue makes us empathize with her suffering. Goth is outstanding in both the psychotic moments of her character and the starry-eyed dreamer. She truly gives a tour-de-force, masterclass in acting.
Not only is the story tightly written, but the overall film is thoughtfully put together. Everything is shot with a vibrant Technicolour hue from Cinematographer Eliot Rockett, and the whimsical score by Tyler Bates gives classic Hollywood vibes. Therefore, bringing us into the world of 1918 and Pearl’s stardom dreams.
You don’t have to watch X to have a devilishly good time watching Pearl. However, they are the two halves that make a killer whole and complete a wicked double feature.
Pearl screens at TIFF ’22 as follows:
Mon, Sep 12 IN-PERSON at Royal Alexandra Theatre at 11:59 pm
Tur, Sep 13 IN-PERSON at Cinesphere IMAX at 9:30 pm
VVS Films releases PEARL in cinemas Friday, September 16, 2022.
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