Review – A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT

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Starring: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Mozhan Marinó, Dominic Rains, Milad Eghbali, Rome Shadanloo, Marshall Manesh
Written and Directed by: Ana Lily Amirpour
Running Time: 99 minutes
Release Date: 22nd May 2015

You know you’ve seen a good film when it gets under your skin and you’re still thinking about it days later. You know you’ve seen a good vampire film when you wish you were that vampire, even just for a little while.

Writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour, in her feature debut, has created a vampire in A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night that will immortalise her among the greatest blood drinkers captured on film. Startlingly she has created a unique vision we haven’t seen before. Her vampire, known only as the Girl, haunts the streets of Iranian ghost town Bad City, walking among its pimps, prostitutes and misfits, clad in her long flowing black chador. It’s a stunning image that startles you ever time you see her on screen.

Shot in black and white, it’s a vampire western, a lone figure in a decaying town full of lost souls, way beyond redemption. An American-Iranian, Amirpour has brought her love of film to every frame. She references Rebel Without A Cause in Arash’s tortured, white t-shirt/hotrod driving young man with father issues, while mega gangster Saeed, a drug dealing pimp, channels True Romance’s Drexyl with a side order of Bobby Peru in Lynch’s Wild At Heart.

It’s beautifully shot, the black and white photography capturing the smoulering mood and atmosphere that comes in the hours of darkness when the Girl goes hunting. Sheila Vand was Amirpour’s only choice to play the Girl and she is incredible in a role that has very few lines. She powerfully lets her eyes do the talking for her. A scene in which she dances in her basement apartment before putting on her heavy kohl eyeliner is cool and beautiful. She’s a killer but she’s also just a lonely girl. A shot of her skateboarding down a dimly lit street at night, chador flying out like a cape is gorgeous.

All of the beautiful imagery is complimented by a great soundtrack, from Federale’s western inspired themes, to White Lies‘ Death playing in the Girl’s bedroom as the camera pulls in slowly, the space between her and Arash getting slowly smaller as their world’s collide.

Not since Pulp Fiction has music been used to such good effect in a film and there are Tarantino influences throughout. The violence when it comes is quick, shocking and very effective and the interplay between the characters charges with electricity and possibility.

An instant vampire classic, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night should be seen on the big screen. Beautiful, dangerous, cool – everything a vampire needs to be. See it twice.

*****

 

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