Thursday, June 12, 2014
Indie Review: Julia (2008)
'Julia': A Darkly Funny And Humanistic Gem About A Rather Detestable Human Being
The "black comedy" genre, in my opinion, is often underused and usually when one thinks of a black comedy, they think of the essential 1996 film Fargo. But here we have a black comedy known as Julia that in my mind is criminally undersung and is done a rather gritty and realistic way.
Julia follows a misanthropic and alcoholic woman named Julia (Tilda Swinton) who feels that she just can't catch a break. As she is feeling down on her luck, Julia then partners with her neighbor to stage a kidnapping of her neighbor's son. As Julia does kidnap the kid, she then uses him as ransom in order to extort money and things begin to spiral out of control.
What I LIked About It:
First off, I absolutely loved Tilda Swinton's performance. She is just astounding at playing a character that is quite detestable. The main character of Julia hardly has any redeemable qualities as she is not only an alcoholic misanthropist, but is also a pathological liar who would do or say whatever just to save her own skin and get away scott-free. What is so great about Swinton's performance is that at first she is very serious-minded yet naive but as the film progresses and things take a turn for the worse, she gets more nervous and somewhat retains her naivete.
Another thing I thought was interesting was how the film portrays more serious situations, yet during those scenes, I just couldn't help but laugh. I mean, that is the whole idea of a black comedy, but still. For example, there is one scene where Julia meets up with a man who gives her a gun she uses for the kidnapping and she promises she'll give him money for it, but you're just snickering, thinking she won't be true to her promise. It's a very subtle kind of humor. I also liked how the film had a darkly comedic tone and was shot very realistically. Director Erick Zonca doesn't use any special techniques of symbolism or anything like that when shooting this film. He just shoots it in a way that makes it seems like it is real ordinary folks getting themselves into forces beyond their control. Plus, the film is almost 2 and a half hours, but there was no point where I was bored. So, that's a bonus.
What I Didn't Like About It:
Overall, Julia is a devilishly comedic yet realistic drama that features a dynamite performance from Tilda Swinton. This is a highly underrated gem that I think should be seen more. I watched this online and if you are online and happen to find this film, pop some popcorn and give it a watch. You will be in a for a treat.