05th Mar2019

‘Greta’ Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Chloë Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe, Jane Perry, Jeff Hiller, Parker Sawyers, Brandon Lee Sears, Arthur Lee, Rosa Escoda, Jessica Predd, Thaddeus Daniels, Raven Dauda, Colm Feore, Zawe Ashton, Stephen Rea | Written by Neil Jordan, Ray Wright | Directed by Neil Jordan


Greta tells the story of a young woman befriends a lonely widow who’s harboring a dark and deadly agenda towards her… Isabelle Huppert and Chloë Grace Moretz are terrific as Greta Hideg and Frances McCullen, respectively. The former showcases an outstanding electrifying performance that gestates a harrowing ‘under the skin’ conviction of torment and despair. The underbelly of a character such as Greta Hideg is frightening to witness develop. The sheer cruelty and haunting persona grow in an engulfing bravado, almost like cancer as the film develops from one nightmarish scenario to the next with seizable abhorrent effects, albeit intoxicatingly addictive to witness the sheer depth a character such as Hideg will delve in nihilistic propositions. It’s a performance that the film hinders on to be a success. Falling into one of either embodiment from being spectacularly ingenious or ironically comedic. Thankfully it is in the formers camp but credit where credit is due. Without the talent and emotional range that Huppert possesses this film simply does work.

Moretz also impresses after a somewhat slight stumbling block in the blockbuster market in the last few years of her career, namely The 5th Wave and Kick-Ass 2. Choosing now to focus on the simplistic notion of her craft in smaller personal features such as Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria and Desiree Akhavan’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post – both released in 2018 – has all but excelled her talent to that of the star we saw in Martin Scorsese’s film Hugo and Matt Reeves Let Me In released in 2011 and 2010 respectively. Moretz conveys anxiety induced dread in a way what seems simplistic ease. Her character is weighted in a daunting honest hostility in her disposition and vulnerability towards Greta, feeling both raw and aligned with a retort to the millennial crisis of overwhelming honesty and openness presumably from writer-director Neil Jordan. An interesting but sadly inconsequential subtext to the work itself.

Maika Monroe also impresses with what is essentially a bloated cameo. A performance that works as the eyes and ears for the audience and aside from a few terrific scenes, she’s limited in significant screentime or depth. It’s arguably the best performance given by Monroe since her breakout hit almost four years ago in David Robert Mitchell’s 2014 film It Follows. The supporting cast is in a whole a severely underwhelming attribute, and while it can be argued the film is focused on both Isabelle’s Greta and Moretz Frances it would be inconsequential to follow supporting characters, but this element also highlights the poor scripting throughout by screenwriters Ray Wright and Neil Jordan. The opening first act in particular isnt polished to a sufficient quality and the actresses, unfortunately, fail with no fault of their own to commit believability from the substandard page.

The editing by Nick Emerson is beautifully slick and devilishly stylish. The opening credits are fabulous and gloriously sleek. Undoubtedly conveying a grand sense of provocation to a devilshly grandiose picture. The cinematography by Seamus McGarvey is your typical standard approach putting forth a harmonious and sufficient visual depiction of this story. However, it doesn’t take risks nor subvert itself from expectation or convention, similar to that of the unfortunately poor score by Javier Navarrete that fails to heighten the tension and atmosphere of an otherwise riveting feature.

Ultimately Greta is a masterclass of hypnotic tension that grabs you with severe agonizing anxiety and revels in dark morbid suffering of its audience with a frighteningly intense thriller that master of his craft Alfred Hitchcock himself would be proud of.

Greta is in US cinemas now, the film comes to the UK on April 19th.


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