The Dallas Movie Screening Group

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

DIFF2015: Stations of the Cross

I haven't seen a slow burn like this since "Foxcatcher" and it was really affective. I felt angry, sad, in shock and really sorry for the main character. This was a whirlwind of emotions.

This is a story of a young girl who is apart of a very religious family and told that most temptations are sin and you will be punished eternally for them. Her priest, church and mom really make her feel worthless and make her out to be a problem child, but really just a harmless teenager that is curious about boys and life in general. I won't spoil how this movie ends but I was left enraged at the ridiculousness of religion and what it can do to people. Religious people don't bother me, it's the extreme ones who say you are a heathen if you listen to jazz music, have romantic feelings for someone or just breath their air. The last one is an exaggeration, but you get my point. I think what the director was trying to make was an anti-religion statement, which is odd because you can look at this and see a pro-religious story with messages relating to Jesus and him dying for our sins. The film is broken up into 14 segments (all relating to the 14 stations of the cross) and all in one-take shots. One shot set-up and nothing else. The actors are allowed to breathe and really show what they got. I loved this choice because the main character felt like she was slowly dying from this poison that was called religion. What she was experiencing was toxic and not in least bit healthy. She is brainwashed into thinking if she tells a white lie she will be going to hell. It's that bad. I saw anti-religion from this director and I thought it worked but I could be also seeing another perspective different from someone else.

The acting is outstanding as everyone pulls their weight. The main actress is breathtaking as she shows a great transformation physically as we see this child in pain. I wanted to help this little girl, that's how much I cared for her. The supporting cast is great, even though I hated the mom character. But that just shows how great an actress is if you can convince me of being unlikeable, when in reality probably a great person.

For cinematography, I am not exaggerating; there are only 14 shots through the entire movie since they are all one-take shots. They are nice, beautifully framed and lit; but they just are good, visual background for the captivating acting.

The film runs at about an hour and 45 minutes and as much I was glued to the screen, I felt the drag around the middle. When you watch that many one shot takes, your mind can start wandering.

Overall, this is a slow ride that gets under your skin and really question life and the religion that controls some of them. 9/10
(Review by Chase Lee)

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