Welcome back, dear readers! You’ll be happy to hear that I’ve been writing like crazy lately and I hope all of your passions are blazing along as well! I wanted to take this opportunity to invite anyone to share a link with me if they wanted me to read any of their writing. I am always looking for something new to read.
Onward to the review.
Braid is a 2018 movie written and directed by Mitzi Peirone, and starring Madeline Brewer, Imogen Waterhouse, and Sarah Hay. It’s an… interesting film to say the least. What it lacks in a clear plot, it more than makes up for in style. Since this movie was just made available through Amazon Prime recently, I won’t be posting spoilers in the first part of this review. There will be some at the end so do not cross the “spoiler-free boundary” if you don’t want the movie ruined.
To put the plot simply, two friends are in a spot of trouble and decide to go back to their hometown and rob an old friend of theirs, since she is supposed to be rich. There’s a catch though. Their old friend is insane and, in order to search the mansion for the money, they will need to play along with her rules. The film soon spirals into a psychedelic madhouse.
Upfront, this film definitely kept my attention. However, I don’t think it was attention-grabbing for the reason that Peirone likely intended. I found the film neither suspenseful, creepy, nor shocking. It was just… weird. Stylistically, the movie was very unique and I liked the concept of two regular people trying to play along with someone’s insanity in order to get something. However, the execution was flawed and shallow.
The cast is small, it centres around the three women and yet, I didn’t really sense any kind of connection between them or growth of the characters. I feel like there was some lacking some element that tied everything together. In the end of the film, I was just confused. I just sat there and was like… what happened? Why did it happen?
So my thoughts?
Past this point, you will have cross the spoiler-free boundary!
You’ve been warned!
Okay, what the hell happened in Braid? I get trying to make a psychological horror that pushes boundaries and is stylistic, but Braid just didn’t make sense to me. So, Petula (Imogen Waterhouse) and Tilda (Sarah Hay) go and visit their old friend, Daphne (Madeline Brewer), with the motive of stealing her money. Things get weird and reality loses its grip on the plot. Daphne tortures her visitors, believes she has been impregnated by one of them, and all three of them kill a cop and bury his body. After that, it gets even more insane. From what I can understand, they all lose their minds. Petula attempts to escape at one point and is unable to. Through the replay of several scenes that happened at the beginning of the film (when Petula gets the cigar burn on her arm) it seems implied that she has tried to escape before but was unable and all three are caught in a loop. Especially since at the end, we see Daphne quite a bit older at the sink. Off scene, Tilda comes in stating the same thing she did when the two girls arrived the first time; “I’m home, Mother.” (or something to that degree)
And yet, there is also a scene when all three seem to commit suicide when they’re much younger so is it a kind of hell they are trapped in?
Who knows? I surely don’t.
I found an interview with the director on PopMatters, in which she said:
“Braid’s nature is extremely cerebral and challenging, it’s a constant riddle, a visual poem that’s going in and out of reality. It definitely has a very riddling narrative and that’s supposed to keep the audience engaged and always questioning what’s happening”.
Well she wasn’t wrong. It definitely kept me questioning what was going on. Does that make it a good movie? A bad one? Lazy writing? Or genius filmography? For me, I just didn’t find it that interesting. I like the idea that these three may have invented an infinite loop that trapped them within their own insane hell, but the characters were rather shallowly developed so I just didn’t care about them. I did some research to see what others thought of it, maybe find other interpretations of the ending. There were definitely a lot of polarizing opinions.
Matt Zoller Seitz from the RogerEbert.com had this to say:
“Once you realize that the movie had a specific destination in mind all along but chose not to go there in a conventional way, you may appreciate its seemingly heedless confidence—the way it seems to be skipping, somersaulting and sprinting through the tale, showing off at every turn with its alternately sumptuous and grotesquely distorted widescreen visuals (by cinematographer Todd Banhazi), its dagger-slash editing (by David Gutnik), and its superheated music (by Michael Gatt), which blends elements of classic Hollywood melodramas and neon-lit 1980s thrillers.”
Rob Caiati from Film Inquiry wasn’t a fan however:
“Braid also falters through its laborious use of overindulgent flourishes, with the camerawork that seems almost amateurish rather than visionary. Decisions such as switching the color palette to black and white for no discernible reason as well as including entire sequences flipped upside down serve to distract rather than to augment the hallucinatory properties of the film. All of this comes off as pompous and almost arrogant rather than as a confident approach to a clear artistic vision.”
Would I recommend watching Braid? I mean it’s free on Amazon Prime, so why not. I can’t promise you that you’ll be entertained. If you do watch it, let me know how you interpret it! I’d love to share some thoughts on it.
Until next time!
x P.L. McMillan