Thursday, February 26, 2015

Honeymoon


  After Digging Up the Marrow, I decided to keep the indie horror thing going and give Honeymoon a shot. If third time's the charm, I can't imagine how what I watch next could possibly outdo such a damn fine movie. I had known about Honeymoon for a fair minute. A month or two. However, in doing a bit of looking up on it, word of mouth wasn't great. In fact people complained the movie was vapid, and even a bit threadbare. Others accused it of being slow and tedious. I don't know exactly what they were expecting, or what kinds of movies those reviewers like... but Honeymoon was none of those things.

  It's pacing deliberate, it's story simple, but it's all in taking the time to familiarize you with our protagonists. Trust me, nothing is arbitrary. Newlyweds Bea and Paul retreat to an old cabin that's been in her family for ages for their honeymoon. It doesn't take long for things to go awry as Bea's strange behavior starts to worry Paul. That's about as vague as the Netflix description was. At this point, you have no idea what it could be. The movie's taglines, seen on a few of it's different posters, all point in different directions. I don't even really want to tell you what I thought was going on because the littlest nudge in any direction could give the plot away... and that would be criminal.

  It's not a big "twist" movie, but the fun in it is discovering what the hell is going on with these two as the movie progresses. It could be anything. The movie held my attention like nothing else has recently. I started to notice things, little things, just like Paul. Played by Harry Treadaway, Paul, who reminds me of a young Dennis Quaid, is our anchor. It's his point of view that the audience is seeing things unfold from. It's a familiar role that could easily slip into cliche. A concerned husband or father, noticing strange things about a wife, girlfriend, or daughter. Yet Treadaway's performance has us buying into every single second. It feels genuine and sincere. ...And also a bit familiar. Movies like The New Daughter, Possession, and The Possession spring to mind (all good movies). Not to say Honeymoon has too much else in common with those movies, so don't let those titles fool you. However, if you are a fan of that specific little sub-genre, you'll love Honeymoon.

  Possession is a fantastic movie that is nothing but a emotionally charged drama about infidelity... until it pulls the rug out from under you in slow motion as the main character discovers something is just not right with his wife. As authentic and nerve wracking as the marital spats and ear-shattering shouting matches were in the first half of the Possession, Honeymoon is content to go in the entire other direction, obviously. Bea, played with charm and gusto by Rose Leslie, and Paul are the happiest newlyweds ever. Drunk on their own affection for each other and completely in love. Thankfully it never gets over saturated, and it's easy to get caught up in their happiness. I found myself smiling often and almost forgetting what kind of movie I was watching.

  Both Leslie and Treadaway play their roles with such sincerety that it ends up being downright gut wrenching. No matter what you think this movie is about, keep an open mind. Experience it for what it is. Rather than drop a twist on you like a sack of bricks, it gives you enough hints and clues for you to slowly arrive at your own conclusion. In doing so, it avoids any sort of adverse knee-jerk reaction. A lesser movie might have tried to spin it as some big surprise at the end, but a smart moviegoer would have already figured it out. Putting it out there as a last minute surprise twist would've been borderline insulting, because the same movie has been prodding us to figure it out this whole time. And, you know... we fucking did. It needs to affirm our suspicions, not try to surprise us with what we already know.

  Honeymoon does just that. By the time you figure it out, it's been handled so delicately and with such care that you just want the movie to acknowledge what's happened. It does, and... it's fantastic. The movie is a bit depressing so don't go in expecting something that'll leave you upbeat, but go in with a lot of patience, and an open mind. This visually stunning movie more than satisfied me. It's dripping with atmosphere and tension and it plays to it's own strengths. There was a lot on the shoulders of Leslie and Treadaway, having to carry basically a whole movie on their own, but they did it. They did it really damn well too. I can't recommend it enough. I'm in love with this haunting little movie. It was fantastic. Offhand, I can't even think of a single complaint.

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