Friday, January 31, 2020

Review: Gretel and Hansel

Release date: January 31, 2020
Running time: 87 minutes
Starring: Sophia Lillis, Alice Krige, Jessica De Gouw 

Gretel and Hansel is a dark fairy tale--a scary tale.  It is a grim retelling of the classic fairy tale with a darker aesthetic, more mysticism than I remember, and a muted, but still bold style.  Gretel and Hansel are put out at a desperate time.  Cold and hungry, they break into a house in order to steal some food from an overflowing table.  However, when they are discovered, the quirky but seemingly nice old matron of the house takes them in.  But Gretel starts to become uneasy with this arrangement as she learns and feels more about this house and the strange owner. 

Gretel and Hansel has a grim style fitting for a dark fairy tale.  The colors are muted, but also bold.  It is tough to describe, but the overall style is dark but with deliberate splashes of color.  For example, in the forest scene, despite the sky being overcast and the trees being a muted grey, the forest floor is still covered by yellow and orange leaves.  And in a scene involving a white and grey cabin, there is red smoke coming from the chimney.  This style is evident throughout the film, with many of the scenes containing drab, deliberate color choices with the occasional splash of color.  Being a fairy tale, much of the film feels rooted in fantastical concepts.  Not only is this reflected in the visual style and story; it is also reflected in the soundtrack, which has an electronic, otherworldly vibe to it.  Watching a film set in a medieval setting with more modern music is an interesting combination that contributes a lot when it hits. 

The acting and characters are generally good, however some of the characters can get on your nerves.  As with the original fairy tale, there are some very bad decisions made in the story that can be annoying to observe.  And the dialog is generally good, but can have some odd word choices and phrasing.  Despite the short run time of the film, the pace is still very slow.  It is not a good sign when a movie that is a little less than an hour and a half still feels like a long film.  And despite some interesting ideas in the plot, there are many story threads that are unexplained.  Unfortunately, this includes the ending, which is both too abrupt and at the same time unfulfilling.  The movie spends a lot of time setting up the characters, but  ends too quickly and leaves more questions than answers.   

Gretel and Hansel tells a grim, dark fairy tale with a deliberate style and an electronic, otherworldy soundtrack.  

Rent It

No comments:

Post a Comment