As a movie critic, there’s nothing extra satisfying than discovering a director with a very distinctive and entertaining type. With so many movies I come throughout, I really feel as if I’m watching one thing I’ve seen earlier than, merely pushed by way of a grinder to present it a singular texture. It might look a bit of totally different, but it surely’s all the identical substances that have been there earlier than, simply repackaged to seem as one thing new. Dana Kippel’s Mirror (2023) by no means gave me that feeling. Quite the opposite, watching Mirror provides a fascinating narrative and an distinctive (and trippy) visible expertise.
Mirror tells the story of Summer season (performed by author/director Dana Kippel), a lady who feels trapped in a relationship with James (Corey Brooks), a man who doesn’t present a lot curiosity in her, and doesn’t appear all that fascinating as an individual. You possibly can inform from the outset that Summer season feels disconnected from herself, her boyfriend, and nearly all the pieces round her, to the purpose that she units her associates up on a non secular getaway in Sedona, Arizona. In concept, every participant shall be awarded with a bit of money only for making it by way of the expertise.
Summer season units out with 4 associates, however there may be discord within the group from the beginning. Nia (Ariana Brown) gained’t reply calls from her mom, whereas sisters Katie (Grace Patterson) and Annie (Marissa Patterson) can’t appear to speak to one another with out tearing themselves down. Summer season is unenthusiastic that Liz (Jadelyn Breier) got here on the journey in any respect, believing that Liz desires to steal James from her. Because the journey continues, the group encounters a wide range of weird and complicated characters who lead them by way of the non secular retreat, the place they’re confronted with their very own demons and the interior traumas that they’re too afraid to face of their each day lives.
Although Mirror has a method all its personal, I did detect — or no less than interpret — influences from different nice movies and filmmakers. The cinematography and undertones of disconnection, despair, and metaphysical marvel felt paying homage to Lars von Trier’s Melancholia (2011), whereas a number of the digital camera work and unhinged characters have been delightfully Lynchian in type. However Dana Kippel’s Mirror addresses its themes extra instantly, by way of each psychedelic visuals and surreal interactions. We, as viewers, get to see the trauma firsthand, even whether it is offered in a means that doesn’t attraction to the sensibilities and expectations of mainstream cinema.
From a filmmaking perspective, Mirror stands out as one of many few indie movies in current reminiscence to efficiently movie on location with out sacrificing the standard of its visuals. In reality, the movie seamlessly blends photographs of interstellar clouds and mysterious vortexes with the pure great thing about the Arizona desert. There are a number of moments when the movie’s low funds creeps by way of, significantly when it entails the embedded narrative of “The Sport of Life” TV present, however these moments are far outshined by the improbable cinematography, glorious performances (particularly from the 5 central actors), and philosophical themes that ask the large questions with out a variety of pointless exposition.
Many filmmakers have tried and did not make a high quality metaphysical movie, because it’s such an summary idea to transcribe to the cinematic medium. Because of this it was pleasantly shocking to see a younger filmmaker (in her function debut, no much less) create a narrative that lends itself so properly to such a troublesome and complicated style. Summer season is disconnected from the world round her, and each facet of the movie is devoted to the questions people ask themselves in moments of existential dread. Are we distinct from the universe round us? Does our world, as we all know it, actually exist? How does our consciousness take type within the pure world, and the way are the 2 related?
Like all real metaphysical movie, these questions aren’t answered with any sense of certainty. I gained’t give away the ending, but it surely does trace at a concept, nonetheless far-fetched, about what may very well be true about our existence, or no less than the existence of the characters within the movie. Relying in your temperament, it’s possible you’ll stroll away from Mirror with a higher sense of function and connection to the folks and issues round you, or it’s possible you’ll really feel much more confused and misplaced than earlier than. I personally felt a way of optimism because the credit rolled, and as a certifiable cynic, this was no small feat. For that reason alone, I can actually say that Dana Kippel exhibits nice expertise as a philosophical filmmaker, and I’m excited to see extra from her sooner or later. In closing, if you wish to get pleasure from a official metaphysical movie that’s concurrently scary and hopeful, Dana Kippel’s Mirror is actually a diamond within the tough.
Mirror (2023) Film Ranking: ★★★★ out of 5
If you happen to’d like to observe Mirror (2023), the movie premieres on January ninth, 2023, and you may stream, lease, or buy it after the premiere at ReflectMovie.com. If you wish to study extra about Dana Kippel’s future initiatives, make sure you try Crazy Carrot Films. For extra movie critiques like this one, make sure you try the Philosophy in Movie homepage!
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