04th Sep2018

‘Arizona’ Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Kaitlin Olson, Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Gillies, Rosemarie DeWitt, Danny McBride, Luke Wilson, David Alan Grier, Jade Kammerman, Lolli Sorenson, Travis Hammer, Audrey Walters, Cullen Moss | Written by Luke Del Tredici | Directed by Jonathan Watson


Set in the midst of the 2009 housing crisis, this darkly comedic story follows Cassie Fowler, a single mom and struggling realtor whose life goes off the rails when she witnesses a murder.

Jonathan Watson’s Arizona while an oversimplified comedic thriller as a premise on paper and page, is a far more intriguing and engaging final product. Although, unfortunately, and naively so doesn’t want to plunge into the dramatic depths to discover a far more promising and distinctive voice, only dipping its toes into a sea of prevalent social commentary.

Danny McBride shows terrific range with a seismic outlandish performance of muddled morality and chaotic nihilistic endurance. His terrific and versatile range is an aspect of his ability that goes far too unnoticed within the medium of film, with Alien: Covenant and now Arizona the only limited spectacles one can see his more straight-laced performances. It’s the screenplay that ultimately lets the side down here by not delving deep enough to explain the emotional self-sabotage and the surrounding cultural turmoil, serving merely as a backdrop and while not detrimental to the entertainment of the film, or total engagement. It does lack the investment and encapsulating tension of an event that scarred a generation, with only the small ramifications felt.

Watson’s film travels a muddled path into trademark ventures of the typical conventions surrounding the talent involved. The film itself has no issue with being unsurprising and unpredictable, with no character safe from the film’s plot which comes first, with character second. Anything that gets in the way of the former, is out for the count, leading to a far more engaging and tense ambiguity. Yet, on the other hand, the film falls foul to unnecessary conventions that relate to the performers involved. A flat, irking and distracting cameo from Seth Rogen for starters, does ever so little to install confidence and the obligatory marijuana references lurking in the shadows (quite literally) that only leads to slightly undermine the picture and the efforts explored.


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