Thursday, 25 August 2016


Honesty and innovation meet tradition in Trey Edward Shults's compelling feature debut, Krisha. Shults warps the conventions of the Thanksgiving family melodrama to his own, frank, personal ends, and the verisimilitude of his touch is enough to distinguish this new filmmaker as a most exciting one. But he goes further, loading his film with abstract stylistic quirks, all of which are effective, but some only to an extent. Eventually, one comes to expect more from Krisha as a result of Shults adventurousness, and may be disappointed by the narrative simplicity with which it wraps up. For the most part, those quirks are utilized in fine fashion, enhancing the dramatic material rather than antagonizing it. Supple editing rearranges the events of the few hours depicted here to linearize the progression, an adjustment that actually proves welcome due to the interest inherent and admiration accrued in Shults technical bravura. Brian McOmber's musique concrete score complements the film's readily-embraced comedic streak, oddly most successful when the comedy is coarse and broad, a little less so when it's more predictably black. And Drew Daniels' cinematography indulges in quietly expressionistic tableaux, though questioning the precise purpose of each of its artistic gambits - the pursuing long takes, for example - may lead the viewer up a blind alley. Alas, the film is more solid on more fundamental grounds - it's written and directed with a remarkable feel for unforced realism, and acted with uncommon humility and perceptiveness. Perhaps it is exactly this modest excellence in such ordinary fields that prompted the attempts at virtuosity elsewhere; I'd be lying if I claimed it was equally impressive, but equally lying if I claimed I wasn't impressed at all.