[CRÍTICA] Malcolm & Marie is a film with a lot of style and little soul

After rewarding the world with the famous Euphoria series, American director and screenwriter Sam Levinson meets Zendaya again for his new project, Malcolm & Marie. The Netflix original film follows a couple on the verge of collapse: on the one hand, a director eagerly awaiting reviews for their debut film, which has just opened. On the other, his girlfriend, who can no longer bear the attacks of egocentrism and narcissism.

Since its release, the film has divided critics’ opinion, with many talking about the film’s brilliance and voicing several critiques of the media industry that circulates the cinema. Others think that this is just the egocentric journey of a director. We’ve already watched the movie and here’s our review of Malcolm & Marie!

data sheet

Title: Malcolm & Marie

Director and screenplay: Sam Levinson

Year: 2021

Release date: February 5 (Netflix)

Run Time: 106 minutes

Film synopsis: A director’s relationship with his girlfriend is strained after they return home from their film’s premiere, awaiting response from critics.

Malcolm & Marie is a film with a lot of style and little soul

Within minutes, it’s already possible to get an idea of ​​what the vibe will be like in Malcolm & Marie, the new original Netflix movie starring John David Washington and Zendaya. The feature already begins with a lot of style, accelerated camera movements and good staging – an unnecessarily chic word to explain how the actors and scenic elements are arranged in the scene – in addition to presenting the main protagonists in Beautiful and luxurious costumes.

Malcolm Elliott is a director who has just made his film debut. Her film, based on the small, understandable fragments of the story, tells the story of a drug addict girl who makes a serious decision. Malcolm comes home and worries about the film’s early reviews, which never seem to go away. And then we have the perfect scenario for a heated argument between him and his girlfriend.

Marie Jones is a former actress and knows her life story inspired Malcolm to write the screenplay for her film. She looks dry, resentful, and expressionless, but in fact she’s got a wound inside ready to explode – even though she still tries to keep it below the surface, almost in a self-instinct. preservation against Malcolm’s monumental ego.

And right away you can see that the strength of the film is in the performance. Zendaya continues to prove to be one of the most versatile and powerful actresses in cinema today, while John David Washington, who is also very talented, is perfectly adept at transitioning into the role of the charming and asshole. Both deliver unique, super strong performances that have the impact the movie needs. Unfortunately, the script doesn’t help …

To give a bit of context, Malcolm & Marie was written as a sort of retaliation from director Sam Levinson for his review of his first feature film, Country of Violence. So, the film promises to point the finger and spit in the face of every critic in the world, while showing us the slow breakdown of a relationship in real time.

And before the rocks fall, I have to say that I’m totally in favor of films that highlight film criticism. Instead of those who write about cinema and those who produce cinema, I think that the exchange between films and critics is something sensational and that it can generate great discussions. The proof is in films such as Birdman, Almost Famous and even Ratatouille, all of which make valid criticism comments, whether in the cinema or not.

The big problem with Malcolm & Marie is that the movie is just an exploration of the ego. It’s almost as if the two characters represent divergent points of Sam Levinson’s psyche, with Malcolm representing the artistic and bombastic side, while Mary is a more rational and thoughtful side, who is aware of how her boyfriend is. is always with flares and delusions of grandeur. .

This generates poorly written monologues that are more like a compilation of ready-made phrases and gratuitous attacks. Malcolm despises a review that praises his work and emphasizes reservations, which increasingly denotes a world where one cannot ‘just love’ something – everything is to be applauded or hated, with no room for it. compromise. And it ends up serving as a metaphor for their own relationship.

Malcolm and Marie hate and love each other equally. Deep down, we know that they can’t stand each other and we wonder how this relationship still holds up. It’s a bizarre and abusive dynamic, which even gives an interesting monologue in the middle of the film, but generates a certain boredom and monotony due to the repetition of the cycle. They fight, put on makeup, make love, fight again.

On the other hand, give Caesar what Caesar is: despite the immature script, Sam Levinson convinces here as a director. As stated earlier, he has a good grasp of cinematic technique to produce good character set, beautiful camera movements, and excellent framing and sound mixing – something even more worthy of credit if one considers the film to have been fully produced during quarantine.

In fact, the idea of ​​isolation and tension is present here, although it doesn’t seem intentional in the context of the pandemic. The isolation of the characters is something much more internal and introspective, almost as if the two are lonely characters, even though they have each other to keep each other company. The black and white tone of the film even helps establish that fence and the idea that there is no way to escape from oneself.

Malcolm & Marie turns out to be just that movie that doesn’t smell too much or smell too much. The performances are excellent and the directing has its brilliant moments, but the egocentric script and pleasant dialogue make the film more of a narcissistic exercise for its director than the film itself. As much as Malcolm Elliott hates the term associated with his film, so mediocre it is.

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