Film: Fantasy or Reality?




Carmen is a highly stylized musical thriller loosely, very loosely based on Bizet’s famous 1875 opera. This modern reworking of the story has hardly any connection to the original piece, it simply uses the story as inspiration for a modern, gripping and thoroughly engaging story. Carmen has great new music which occasionally uses lyrics from the original libretto.

Benjamin Millepied’s Carmen is a gritty modern day tale, with a majestic score by Nicholas Britell, and dream like dance sequences that evoke magical realism. Seeking to escape from a murderous cartel, the captivating young Carmen (Melissa Barrera gives a stirring performance) is northbound, her route traversing an area patrolled by military personnel who hunt people for sport. Helped by a sympathetic local, Aiden (Paul Mescal) they begin to make a hazardous journey towards Los Angeles.

The film, though violent and gritty, is shot with a dream like quality which keeps the viewer watching as some stunning visuals pass by. The deep and lush score by Nicholas Britell, along with a whole series of new songs, contributes to a compelling musical drama which is best seen and enjoyed on the big screen. Refreshingly different and thoroughly recommended.

Reality is different, very different, and because it’s so different I would encourage you to seek it out. An incredibly simple concept is brought vividly to life on the screen and plays out in a gripping manner that demands you attention.

Reality Winner was an FBI intelligence officer who was accused of leaking secrets to the media about Russian hacks of the US voting system during the presidential election in 2016. Two FBI agents interviewed her at her home and the entire script of the film is the recording of that extensive interview. In fact we often cut away from the actors and are shown the text of the interview (with redactions) on screen. Sydney Sweeney is fantastic as Reality, one minute making us believe that she is totally innocent, and the next causing us to doubt our own judgement. This is genuinely tense, thrilling film making. Bear in mind that this is director, Tina Satter’s, first film. I reckon she’s someone to look out for. Based on a stage play, with only one setting, a minimal cast, and a low budget I would say Reality is a must see.

Main Photo Credit: Nathan Engel via Pexels

Andy Godfrey

Andy Godfrey is a speaker with Outreach UK and has been in full-time Christian work for many years. He is a founding member of the Mark Kermode Appreciation Society and has a collection of nearly 3,000 movies. He’s also an ardent Bristol City fan.

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