Review: Damsel (Las Vegas Film Festival)

Title: Damsel
MPAA Rating: R
Directors: The Zellner Brothers
Starring: Robert PattinsonMia WasikowskaDavid Zellner
Runtime: 1 hr 53 min

What It Is: When a handsome stranger named Samuel (Pattinson) comes to town looking for Parson Henry (Zellner) who can help him find his kidnapped love Penelope (Wasikowska) who’s been abducted by a shady character named Zacharia. Completing their group for the journey is mini-pony Butterscotch which Samuel wishes to gift his future bride since she’d always wanted one. Things don’t exactly go as Samuel has planned and when they don’t it could prove rather costly to himself and everyone around him.

What We Think: I really disliked this movie. While the Zellners make the camera do somewhat interesting things the decision by them as writers and directors were hit and miss. Sure some of what occurs is interesting but the decision to use a more modern dialogue while having Pattinson work with a pseudo-western accent was just a real turn off. Let’s not even go into the ridiculous premise of the film. The twist in it hits like a ton of brick but falls down to earth as quickly as those same bricks might. Wasikowska is fantastic here but her material is a letdown. The Zellner’s injecting themselves in the film is a shame as well. While the film is similar in its ambition to Swiss Army Man it doesn’t come off as nearly as charming nor weird.

Our Grade: C-, Not a complete cinematic disaster it is a narrative mess. I cannot stress enough how this being almost two hours makes it feel even longer. I can’t really recommend this. My personal disdain doesn’t take away from what the Zellner’s tried (and ultimately failed) to do. Pattinson keeps his streak of good performances to go with things like The Rover and Good Time the latter of which currently states as the apex of Pattinson’s career thus far.

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