HER SMELL – NYFF REVIEW

Alex Ross Perry departs from the usual talky comedy he’s known for to make undoubtedly his most ambitious creation yet. A Shakespearean five act structure that brings you right through the gates of hell within minutes of starting. Something that feels reminiscent of Gaspar Noé but Alex manages to make it completely his own. Sean Price William’s cinematography really makes the first three acts feel like you’re in a nightmare and does a much better job than Climax which has many parallels with this. It sometimes feels like it can get a tad exhausting in the first two acts, but works for the majority of it making it easy to overlook. Complimenting the visuals perfectly is the score and sound design which seamlessly flows into one another it becomes impossible to truly tell them apart. An electronic drone that feels like musical equivalent to a panic attack in the best way possible.

There’s a lot of repetition in this with acts one and five being the ying and yang of each other even to the point of using the same shots in the same location but with different lighting and context. Within the five act structure it goes public life, private life, public life, private life, public life which helps give the film its rhythm.

Elisabeth Moss gives the performance of the decade as Becky Something making her previous career defining performance in Queen of Earth seem like child’s play in comparison. She has such an insane and vile performance that is in the very small sweet spot that isn’t too over the top to make the film unbearable to watch yet still pushes the boundaries for an actor just far enough. In the hands of incompetent talent, this film could have easily turned out like mother! but Alex, Elisabeth, and the rest of the cast and crew are all at the top of their game. [A]

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