Girl Movie Review
Written by Stuart D. Monroe
Released by Screen Media
Written and directed by Chad Faust
2020, 90 minutes, Not Rated
Released on November 24th, 2020
Bella Thorne as Girl
Elizabeth Saunders as Mama
John Clifford Talbot as Daddy
Mickey Rourke as Sheriff
Chad Faust as Charmer
Michael Lipka as Town Fuckup
Glen Gould as Barkeep
Lanette Ware as Betty
When your family is the definition of dysfunctional and your hometown is a forgotten hell, it’s safe to say that you wouldn’t want to go back there. That makes perfect sense, after all, but if you were going back home to murder your old man, then it just might be worth the return trip.
Girl (Bella Thorne; Scream: The TV Series) is returning home to Golden County to kill her father. Her mama (Elizabeth Saunders; Stephen King's IT) begs her not to go back. She finds a depressing nightmare of a town and a dead father. He’s been brutally murdered and left hanging from a hook. She is stunned, and now she must know who’s responsible for this. As she drifts around the dark burg trying to piece it together, she uncovers a hidden truth that’s much closer to home than she’d ever have imagined.
The premise is pretty straightforward, and the simplicity of that leaves the weight of the film in the hands of Bella Thorne. She delivers a damn solid performance that’s not without its quirks but ultimately puts you through the emotional paces of a woman who’s having a shit run in an even shittier life. She’s about as dressed down as a natural beauty can possibly be even before she starts getting her ass whipped. You can see that she enjoys the grittier roles, and they seem to like her.
Of course, when you have Mickey Rourke (Angel Heart, Sin City) as your “Big Bad”, you’re getting an imposing physical presence with real chops. The surprise is writer-director Chad Faust (The 4400) as Charmer. Sure, he’s written to have most of the fun, but Chad Faust is making the most of his screen time. The rest of the assembled cast are a collection of solid minor characters doing the literal dirty work in this grimy town with grim determination. It’s a hell of a group effort.
Cinematically, the darker moments are often too dark. It’s a small gripe, but it’s definitely noticeable. Otherwise, it’s a stark picture of those poor places in between civilization that time and hope seem to have forgotten. There are a few lovely overhead and establishing shots of the natural beauty that counterbalance the darkness with a sense of hope. The location is excellent and becomes a character all its own. Throw in a couple of surprisingly wellshot and edited chase scenes that add real value, and you’re left with a movie that has a distinct cinematic flavor that could be called a certain shade of hillbilly noir.
What Girl lacks in violence and flair it makes up for with ugly reality and dark family twists. It’s a movie that makes an impression in spite of its minor flaws, one of those movies that isn’t overly trying to imitate anyone. Instead, Girl is a moody and atmospheric thriller that makes the down and out parts of the country look even more so with craftsmanship and a slew of heavy performances.
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