AT Menu, Alex Garland, everything has a dream tessitura. Maybe, maybe it’s not. And for a director who has successfully adapted Jeff VanderMeer’s unclassifiable work, it seems easy to find the sweet spot between dreamlike and unsettling. Especially when you give it obvious social commentary. But this time, Garland doesn’t make the blending of genres—often its climax—as effective as it has been on other occasions. Actually filmed unnecessarily confusing and, at best, cryptically to tell the idea of a simple character. Where does the director want to move his strange works?
AT AnnihilationGarland was able to turn an unknown scenario into a moral nightmare, which also demonstrated his ability to reconstruct reality. Former car, on the other hand, deployed a sense of identity. He did this through the inconvenient resource of turning artificial intelligence into a reflection of human corruption. About his ability to manipulate, grotesque and cruel. When Alicia Vikander turned into a mechanical nymph, the film worked to the point of constructing a split version of reality. The Turing Test was tied to the idea of the terrifying and, on the other hand, turned its characters into parts of a larger game.
for series developersGarland’s style is mature enough to build a complex universe on a deceptively fragmented landscape. The notion of the ambiguity of truth and the control of the will that turned the premise into an uncomfortable questioning about human nature. For Garland, the condition of plausibility became of great importance. And much more, the possibility of a kind of domination over the will – either real, or subject to questions about the understandable, more vague.
FROM Menu, Garland’s journey into how we perceive reality reaches its most ambitious point. But fails in his inability to tell a story in which all of his obsessions make real sense or at least solidity. If in the rest of his films a person encounters the technological unknown as a common thread, this time it is about the realm of the plausible.
How real is what we see? How understandable is what we find among the disparate questions and fears? Menu It could be a journey to unknown and scary places. But Garland can’t easily tell the main story. Or at least not with all the narrative ability it takes to travel through the fear of insanity. Or even, to the duality of the authentic. Is reality all we see? Garland is surprised. But this time there are no answers.
The Secret Worlds of Alex Garland
Garland’s latest film is filled with an obsession with collective, social, and individual guilt. Especially when all eyes are on Harper (Jessie Buckley), a survivor struggling to cope with pain out of self-respect. Harper suffered from abuse and is now trying to recover as best she can, but to no avail. For the first time, Garland is turning his full attention to a character who goes from one place to another with no answers. Or at least it doesn’t look for them directly. Because of this, the film, with its oversaturated and polychrome landscapes, looks like an unpleasant nightmare. And the question immediately arises, is it real? Is what is shown clear?
But Garland additionally analyzes time from a completely unknown reservoir. Result a film that moves through the slippery terrain of an unreliable narrator. Or, at any rate, a story in which nothing is what it seems or can be deduced from a glance. Something that has so far been an elegant place for Garland’s reflections on time and human nature. But Menu does not reach the level of perfection developers or Former car; arguments pursue the same pitfalls. In fact, there is something flimsy and inelegant about a feature film that is surprising.
This forces the script to use all kinds false traps to tell a story about aggressive and destructive masculinityfrom difficult places. Menu has significant emotional muscles; every action elicits a physical and sensory response from his characters of considerable size. But there is also a sinister journey through some collective unanswered questions. From the concept of victim in our society to the concept of physical violence. Little by little, Garland sharply wonders how some of the great existential questions are understood in the modern world.
The unbearable weight of ambition
But Garland’s film turns that basic aspiration into something more complex. More ambitious, meaningless. And, in fact, the first half of the film is misleading. Does Harper have any idea what’s going on around her? Is it a sad dream that falls apart into conflicting bits of information? Garland has already done the same trick with Natalie Portman’s unnamed character in Annihilation 2016. However, in this case, this is a complete trap, backed up by a strong argument that plays on dehumanization.
Harper tries to escape the pressures of her routine life, in which the emotional wounds she bears are more painful and violent, and go into loneliness. Nonetheless, succeeds in advancing only by the subtlest horrors. Find an intimidating and subtle mirror through which you can see your reflection and understand that something is going on in your self-image and experience.
Menu he dares to do something else without achieving it. And that creates a complex concept that can only be understood as the story progresses. Based on the Fregoli syndrome – a mental disorder in which the patient believes that all the people around him are actually one whole – Garland delves into the feminine horrors of our time. Does intimidating and grotesque behavior recur in everyone you meet? Is this some kind of hallucination?
Harper, from afar, is unable to recognize the identical threatening behavior of the men she encounters. And one by one they create a measured and total image of the horror of violence. Garland, who often has a more than obvious obsession with altered states and a fear of the unknown, creates with Menu a dark environment that becomes a living menace. Gradually, Harper will discover that the threat she faces is becoming more painful, strange, and dangerous than she thought.
For Garland, mysterious translates as large gaps in information or unanswered questions. A resource that often means that his films are considered cryptic, or at least in the middle of a contemplative layer that is difficult to immediately understand.. Menu it could be something in between the perception of strangeness, as well as a state of terrifying, maintained in everyday life. But, as is often the case with Garland, things are never self-evident. Or it is not enough that the analysis of his conjectures about reality be immediate. What may have causedthe first big setback in his filmography.