Film of the Year 2019: ‘Midsommar’ (Dir. Ari Aster)

So, last year my film of the year was Ari Aster’s debut Hereditary. This year I’ve chosen his follow up. I think I might be a bit of a fan.

Midsomer

I know a lot of people had issues with Hereditary. Many of these I will happily admit were valid. The second half lost focus, and the ending was very disappointing after the promise of the first act. But I chose it as my film of the year for 2018 as I was so impressed by the power and ambition it showed. Especially for a debut feature. There was something about it that made me think Aster would someday produce something truly amazing.

Midsommar isn’t that masterpiece I’m waiting for, but it’s another step towards it. Again, this film isn’t perfect. But the important thing is the issue with this one is different to the last. Aster hasn’t repeated the same mistakes.

This time the main issue is predictability. The story has a bunch of American students visit a remote commune in Sweden to study their isolated community and ancient rites. If you feel you can guess the entire plot from that one line, you’re probably right.

But that’s not the point of this film. The story isn’t bad. It’s just predictable. And it’s the style and the characters that make this film. It’s grand. It’s beautiful. And the characters and plot are so fleshed out and developed it doesn’t matter if you can work out where it’s going. The journey itself it so satisfying.

What this film did was cement my belief that somewhere down the line Ari Aster is going to create a horror masterpiece. A touchstone of the genre. There may be a few more movies along the line as he hones his skills, but if each of these are as good as Hereditary and Midsommar then I’m more than happy to be along for the ride.

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