Promising Young Woman (Video On Demand)
Starring Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Laverne Cox, and Connie Britton.
Directed by Emerald Fennell
Rating: *** ½
This is one of the most savagely funny films in a long time. Sassy, savvy, sexy and extremely intelligent Promising Young Woman sparkles with a wicked with viciously humorous take on the vigilante culture of cinema that we’ve been watching from Death Wish to Zakhmee Aurat.
Dimple Kapadia playing an angry cop in Zakhmee Aurat went around castrating rapists. So it wasn’t just the law she was taking into her hands. For a film that seems to favour a highly flamboyant visual flavor, Promising Youmg Woman is surprisingly low on luridity , high on setting the exacerbated male hormones right by planting a hard rap on …well not the knuckles…but the part where a rap hurts the most.
If there is an antidote to penis envy, this film provides it. Pretending to be drunk the game-changing feather-ruffling film’s unforgiving off-beam heroine Cassie(an outstanding Carey Mulligan) picks up predators from a blaring garish bar. Once the sloshed horny bloke is in her innerwear or near-abouts,Cassie stops acting drunk…That’s it. The predator sobers up faster than a sinner at confession.
Is this hard to swallow? Not in the world that first-time director Emerald Fennell constructs . Cassie’s universe of revved -up vendetta is both a poke at and a joke on men who think drunk women are easy prey. There’s no preaching here, no pulpit-styled finger-wagging, though the middle finger does seem up quite often as Cassie goes from one toxic prey to another.
Cassie isn’t normal. Her scenes with her panic-stricken parents(played on the verge of hysteria by Clancy Brown and Jennifer Coolidge) show how far removed she is from reality.Most of her scenes with her parents are played out on the dining table. In one of these Cassie’s forgotten her 30th birthday. And yet she isn’t a psycho or a loony man-hunting for pleasure.
There are bouts of normalcy when Cassie tries to adjust to civil way of existence, has a nice boyfriend(Bo Burnham) and a caring bestfriend(transgender actress Laverne Cox) . But it all comes apart and Cassie’s normalcy bursts at the seams, eventuating in a gut-spilling brutally bloodied climax which I found to be the weakest part of the film and not in-sync with the uneven but restrained rhythm of storytelling in the rest of the film.
But still Promising Young Women is more than promising take on the rape-and-revenge formula. Bursting with colour, choler and energy .it keeps us enthralled to the bitter end with bursts of imaginative ingenuity . As for Cary Mulligan , expect an Oscar nomination, which is not the kind of thing you would expect in a low-brow film such as this.
I can see Cassie’s middle-finger going up.