Girl Review: Bella Thorne Mopes Her Way to Vengeance
This town is not a tourist attraction.
Girl takes place in a seedy town with an untrustworthy nature. Draped in darkness, even those who are portrayed as decent speak of how horrible they’ve been. Seemingly at the centre of the universe is the bar, which may not be the most original way to depict criminality but the trope is still effective. If there’s one thing the flick does brilliantly it’s establish its surroundings and link them with the main character.
Bella Thorne plays the woman without a name; the titular Girl. She may be untitled herself but she is a known entity within the town that she visits. In not giving her a name director/writer/actor Chad Faust lent a certain profundity to her. Oh, so you’re that girl.
She also has a grave and serious nature about her, and this is how she ties into the town that she visits. She goes to the town in order to kill her abusive father but then finds a much larger mystery and danger to contend with. That in itself is a captivating shake-up of the typical revenge plot. That–along with the way she begrudgingly speaks and the way she has a constant moping exterior–lends credence to what I said earlier about Faust linking her with the town.
She may only be visiting, but she fits right in, despite warnings that she shouldn’t be there. A lot of the same characteristics that the town possesses, she does too. If it wasn’t for her father she might just be another person occupying a space that many others occupy. Trauma is not abnormal there, it’s not unique to her. But it’s powerful and dominant.
The way the unorthodox score umbrellas the most important events also stuck out. Some of the music is more traditional thriller fare, but there are times when it reaches for a more unique experience. There were moments where I gazed at the screen and soaked in the sounds, and they did a truly commendable job of creating a hell on earth type of vibe. It could be that this town is Satan’s domain.
It’s a shame that the rest of Girl isn’t as galvanizing as the attention taken to create a memorable environment. Don’t get me wrong, Girl is never bad. But there are moments where it threatens to lean harder into a more negative space–such as some of the dialogue, which might make sense in context of Thorne’s character but is laughable and tone breaking at worst.
Thorne herself may be able to wear disaster on her face but she she lacked nuance. Yes, she can play a miserable, loner young woman. She can cry, she can look low-key hostile (or just outright hostile) at any given point. But what she can’t do is make believable fight scenes, in which there are a couple but is by no means an action movie. She also can’t always deliver on the more emotionally draining aspects of her speech. She’s a pretty good actress from my limited experience with her, but in my eyes she’s not proven and this doesn’t aid that. An okay turn, not memorable.
Opposite her is Mickey Rourke. Rourke plays a sheriff and from the moment you see him it’s obvious that he’s a bit off like the rest of the town. He was a disappointment for me because while theoretically I love him in a role like this, it also felt like maybe he didn’t love himself in a role like this. We know Rourke can put in passionate work–Sin City, The Wrestler–but he came across as a little bored. One might be able to make the argument that it’s part of the character, but even if we operate under that framework that just means the character is unappealing on a visual and literary level.
He reminded me of Bruce Willis in Death Wish, where it’s not a wonderful performance but at least he woke from his slumber and showed up. It’s just hard to not desire more from him, given his past accomplishments.
I will give Faust–as a writer–some credit. The plot moves at a pretty brisk pace and has a few twists and turns that stop it from being bland narratively. By the end I was unsure what Girl was going to do. As I said earlier, I like the premise and I appreciate the amount of freedom that was given because of it in order to go in whichever direction Faust wanted.
He didn’t always stick the landing and could have used some better choreography for the few fight scenes that were present. They didn’t really build tension. I assume they were meant to be gritty and realistic, but there were brief periods of time where they drifted into silly territory.
Girl ends up being a decent film but a little disappointing. When I read a description of it I was invested because I like these types of movies. The execution left a little to be desired and Faust, according to this, succeeds more at the visual aspects of directing than in dealing with his actors’ performances. His script needed more polish, as well, which would be the biggest issue as a whole. But I’m still interested in whatever he does next.
See what happened to Girl by clicking here.
THAT'S ENOUGH, GET TO THE SCORE
MORE ENJOYABLE THAN LIVING IN THIS TOWN WOULD BE UNLESS YOU'RE AN ALCOHOLIC
Girl is okay. It does a few things exceptionally well but then on the flip side of that some of it is pretty basic; bordering on bad but never quite getting there. But I won’t say that I didn’t enjoy it because at its heart it’s still entertaining, which ultimately is what matters most.