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Quick Reviews: 'No One Will Save You', 'Spirit Of Ecstasy' | Kaitlyn Dever, Claire Pommet

Kaitlyn Dever behind a corner, Claire Pommet rocking a backpack
No One Will Save You (L), Spirit Of Ecstasy (R)


In space no one can hear you scream and back on Earth, No One Will Save You, especially when they can't hear you speak. Brian Duffield directs and writes this sci-fi horror tableau, which features frights that are somehow not made to be experienced in a dark theatre but are instead destined to be forgotten in the real dark space known as the algorithm. In the film itself, Kaitlyn Dever plays the lead role of Brynn (Elizabeth Kaluev portraying a younger version as well) who's a young woman living alone in a spacious house, having lost her parents and best friend Maude (Dari Lynn Griffin in flashbacks). Brynn is seemingly treated like an outcast in her hometown, including by Maude's parents (Geraldine Singer, Dane Rhodes), but her life really turns upside down when her home gets invaded by an alien that may or may not have come alone.

A dark and focused environment would definitely benefit the movie since the character introduction, inciting incident and basic premise of this woman trying to survive an alien attack establish a solid, eerie ambience for Duffield to build a story around. It might also hide many of the unfortunate flaws—like the darkness of the night already does when it comes to visual effects seen or barely seen here—that become more irritating than the filmmakers would prefer. Duffield's writing uses Brynn and other characters' near silence as a stylistic mode, and although it'll surely get the headlines, it also creates so many awkward scenarios, which then distract you from the intended tension driving the story.

The lack of dialogue and reactions also puts way too much pressure on Dever's face and body language, as well as composer Joseph Trapanese's busy score filled with orchestral cluster. Dever sadly reacts to that pressure by overacting slightly as far as her movement and expressions are concerned, though she is able to portray Brynn's humiliation well when she faces disdain. Juxtaposing the inherent strangeness of the situation and small plot twists within it with this excessive noise ends up exposing the film's hiding spot, leaving it at a disadvantage.

Smileys: Atmosphere

Frowneys: Screenplay, Kaitlyn Dever


Frightened Kaitlyn Dever hiding behind a corner


One good thing about scooters? You don't have to suffer through someone blasting the worst kind of electronic music known to man. That's definitely one lesson that you can take away from Spirit Of Ecstasy (La Vénus d'argent in French), director and co-writer Héléna Klotz's character-driven drama about a young person just trying to figure it out, balancing their personal life with career ambitions. Claire Pommet stars in her film debut as Jeanne, a 24-year-old Parisian who's trying to work their way up as an intern at an investment firm, following their boss Farès (Sofiane Zermani) who takes them under his wing. Jeanne also feels a responsibility to look after their younger siblings whilst an old sweetheart, Augustin (Niels Schneider), returns from his military service four years after a problematic sexual encounter.

With a suitably fascinating opening to the film, Klotz and co-writers Noé Debré and Emily Barnett both lure a viewer into their oscillating storytelling and also perhaps give a promise that they're not fully able to fulfil with their plotting or character revelations. There are intriguing power struggles, searching of one's standing in a society and unspoken emotions layered into the honest and pressing dialogue, that is then given to the actors, but the second hour of the film lacks the kind of danger that was there in the beginning.

It would be slightly misleading to call the film a mood piece since a more accurate way to describe it would perhaps be a ''vibe piece'', mostly because a coherent mood requires ambition—which Jeanne and their choices reveal, adequately portrayed by Pommet—but Klotz isn't exactly invoking that with her visual palette, blocking or directorial flourishes. Spirit Of Ecstasy is neither riveting nor a wreck; it's just the same aimless story that we see multiple times every year.

Smileys: Dialogue

Frowneys: Originality, story


Claire Pommet rocking a suit and backpack

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