November 11, 2016

The Invitation

Karyn Kusama, 2016
Do you know that feeling when you go to a restaurant and you are totally hungry and eager for some food. You sit down and order your food, only to wait another 1 hour and 20 minutes to actually be served? Well, in a sense that's what this film is like. The table is set early, as a group of friends gather for a dinner party. They haven't seen each other in 2 years. You slowly are served little tiny pieces of backstory. There was a divorce between main character Will (Logan Marshall-Green) and Eden (Tammy Blanchard). You soon find out why, and its important to hold back details here because it's an easy film to spoil. But she has changed to say the least. Will doesn't like this change. Because she appears to be numb, to be drugged up somehow or in some kind of trance. So after the figurative table is set, you are now waiting to see why they are there at this party. And you wait, and then there is some more waiting, and then you wait some more. Finally there is a payoff in this film, but it just comes too late. There is clearly not enough story here to create an elaborate film. There's the Hitchcockian method of skillfully building tension and then releasing it masterfully. Then there's this more elementary method of relying too much on that very tension and then not offering up enough when it is released. When the big revelation comes toward the end, there's not a whole lot of shock. Then the film just becomes gratuitous. Frustrating. None of the characters other than Will are really believable characters. Nobody you would encounter in real life. In any real life situation everyone would have walked out and left after they were forced to watch the awkward cult video. Perhaps its the weak script. Perhaps its the inconsistent casting choices. Marshall Green and Michiel Huisman offer good performances but the rest of the cast is just kind of blah. I think the script and inferior direction is to blame here. But there is one redeeming factor in this film.  There is a detail in the end of the film that is quite clever. Clever enough that you could say that this is one of the rare Bad Movies with Good Endings

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