Director: Jonathan Watson
Starring: Elizabeth Gilliles, Katilin Olson, Danny McBride
Runtime: 1 hr 25 min
What It Is: During the housing crisis of 2009, Cassie Fowler (Olson) is entangled in a violent conflict after witnessing Sonny (McBride), a man with anger issues, accidentally kill a realtor out of rage.
What We Think: Funny, suspenseful, and unpredictable; Arizona is what every dark, suspenseful comedy should strive to be. Set in the middle of the housing crisis, the tense interactions between each character is not only represented accurately, but it gives the audience a rooting interest in the protagonist, Cassie, and the antagonist as well, Sonny (McBride). Immediately, the audience is put into the same awkward, fearful situation as Cassie is once she witnesses the murder. The steps Sonny takes in order to prevent himself from getting into trouble leads into a domino effect of violent acts, creating an even larger mess to get out of. Throughout the film, though, Sonny isn’t portrayed as a stereotypical, evil villain antagonist cinema tends to emulate; rather, we watch a normal guy with personal conflicts a lot of people can relate to (anger issues, pricey bills, family issues/divorce) transform into a psychopathic killer. This is the scariest part of the film– knowing that under the right amount of stress, anyone can become a potential villain. The plot never ceased to thicken as more people became involved and more mistakes were made. The resolution of the film is satisfying and allowed me to finally exhale.
I often found myself laughing out loud during multiple scenes. Watson did an amazing job creating an awkward atmosphere between Sonny and Cassie, breaking several cliches. The dialogue is realistic and hilarious!
Our Grade: A, With relatable characters and a unique plot, Arizona deserves to be on your must-watch bucket list.