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[Fantastic Fest] ‘Girl’ review: Bella Thorne gets down and dirty in revenge thriller

Predictable or foreshadowing?

Girl will initially be reminiscent of Come to Daddy, a movie that screened at last year’s Fantastic Fest. Both movies begin with a letter from an estranged father that leads to a shocking discovery. Bella Thorne stars as the girl who is going to meet her father. She does not have a happy reunion in mind, but even she is surprised by what she finds. The girl soon becomes dragged into a dark world she never knew existed.

Girl’s story poses an interesting question. Where is the line drawn between foreshadowing and predictable? There are twists in the story that the audience can see coming. However, they are set up in the narrative. The question becomes is it too forced? It will be up to the individual as to how satisfying the reveals are. One thing is certain. The film walks a very precarious line.

The performances carry the movie. In particular, the brothers played by Mickey Rourke and director Chad Faust are fantastic. Faust lives up to his Charmer name while Rourke plays his role with a sinister calm. Girl is filled with a constant sense of tension and mystery. From the second the girl returns to find her father, it is clear something is not quite right with the town. There is also a great scene in a laundromat involving the girl and Charmer. It ends with a revelation that kicks the movie into high gear.

[Fantastic Fest] 'Girl' review: Bella Thorne gets down and dirty in revenge thriller

Which is why the film’s flaws tend to stick out more glaringly. Things are wrapped up a little too tidily during the final act. Girl’s big mystery is also resolved surprisingly easily. That being said. Girl does a great job with its pacing. There is a nice build to each moment. The scenes that do take a little longer to develop fill the audience with the right kind of anticipation. Some movies fall into the trap of making customers wait. Here, it is a case of eager to see what will happen next as opposed to hoping the characters hurry up and do something.

The female led revenge thriller has evolved greatly over the years. In previous decades, the movies sexualized and victimized the women involved leading to an incredibly violent ending that was supposed to show empowerment. The more recent entries into the genre have been less about objectifying and more about telling a story. Girl is much more interested in telling a story and building its mystery and is better for it.

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