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.

Recommendation: Free Fire

When you’re pretty certain that a film is going to be good, but then when you start watching you discover Sharlto Copley is in it…


We had a great time watching ‘Free Fire’ and highly recommend it. It’s wonderful to see a film that sticks to a nice, tight 90 minute run time. The plot of this film couldn’t be simpler – a gun deal goes bad and turns into a multi-sided shootout – and with no padding or unnecessary vanity, it’s a slick, fun, exciting movie.

It’s also a reminder that if you put good actors together they spectacle or computer graphics to make the scene watchable. When you boil this film down there is hardly anything to it, but the actors work together so that you don’t even notice. I know very few directors who could pull that off. The great thing about Wheatley as a writer and director is that he never gives you anything more than you need to get the film. It’s always there, but he’ll never put it out there or draw attention to it. His films don’t even know the word “flabby”. It’s a Ben Wheatley action movie. With Sharlto Copley. Why wouldn’t you go and see it?

I’d happily watch a *bad* movie with Sharlto Copley and go away happy.