Ari Aster is a filmmaker born to make his mark, with Beau Is Afraid being his consecration as a writer with his own soul. Unlike his previous two films, this one looks more like a (very) black comedy than a horror film. A (at times) unsettling, yet (very) dark comedy that strongly embraces surrealism and existentialism. So much so that his Kafkaesque determination is like a slap in the face to be avoided.
It’s as easy to hate them as it is tempting to love them. For the same reasons, perhaps the most important is that you don’t always know what to expect. It’s hard to forestall her. Two long hours of footage, and it’s still hard to tell where or what the heck it’s going to do. And the moment of the tico comes. A moment that, like at the end of ‘Enemy’, encourages you to look at the person sitting next to you and not at the screen. The moment Aster lays her eggs on the table.
I sniffed his balls and I sniffed A24 for supporting him. Cinema needs courageous films like this, even if we don’t like them. Respect is the bare minimum for a work that stays true to itself throughout each of its 180-minute duration. Shot for three hours, but not heavily, by a formal exquisite that largely maintains its slow-moving introspection into the depths of its protagonist’s psyche: a Joaquin Phoenix, as ever, on duty and up to the mark.
Circumstances that encourage her to associate with films like What Silver Lake Hides, if only to hold onto something. Both are hypnotic films on a plastic level, whose dramaturgical development is as fascinating as it is baseless, exactly at the point where intelligence and stupidity meet. Beau Is Afraid is a series of episodes (or sketches) somewhere between the absurd and the surreal, the eccentric and the unsettling, filmed with unsettling delicacy.
Aster herself commented, “I want you to go through Beau’s guts and out his ass.” How it sounds, how it is understood. How do you understand Aster wanting to sit and smoke weed next to the more…misguided Terry Gilliam, David Lynch, Quentin Dupieux or David Cronenberg. It’s the feeling that lingers, despite the fact that Aster actually keeps the film under a constant facade of therapeutic control that occasionally, boom, dynamite. suddenly.
It’s a controlled chaos that, like the violence in Quentin Tarantino’s films, is unleashed punctually at the most opportune moments for the feature to jump to the next level. “Jumps” that usually require some trust. The film, which Ari Aster is directing herself, will of course be instinctively hated and loved for the same damn reason: To be a brave and determined pot-trip that evades sanity, the conventional, and the standard.
By Juan Pairet Iglesias