movie review · Uncategorized

Movie Review — Damsel (2018)


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from imdb — Damsel (2018):

It’s the Wild West, circa 1870. Samuel Alabaster, an affluent pioneer, ventures across the American frontier to marry the love of his life, Penelope. As his group traverses the west, the once-simple journey grows treacherous, blurring the lines between hero, villain and damsel.  Written and Directed by:  David & Nathan Zellner.  Starring:  Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, and David Zellner.
I’m going to get this out here quick and that is that I deplored Damsel.  I saw it in the video rack at the library, did a quick scan of plot, saw Robert Pattinson was in it, and I like his movies generally and so borrowed it.
For one thing, the jacket and imdb descriptions are  woefully inaccurate, which may be due to their not wanting to give away any spoilers.  I don’t care if they didn’t want to give away spoilers, there is an inherent expectation that jacket covers and the brief descriptions of plot need to be accurate.  OK, #1 pet peeve out of the way.
Spoilers probably are ahead so if you want to watch it and come to your own conclusions, please stop here.
The movie had a very promising beginning, where it showed happily ever after during the opening credits.  Honestly it was the best part of the movie! (A brief cameo by Robert Forster in the beginning was also good.) The rest went downhill.    It was also a setup!!!!!!!!  It has nothing to do with the rest of the movie!  Why did they feel the need to mislead in the opening?
After setting the hopeful tone, it seemed like the creators of the movie sat down and said to themselves, how are we going to go about mind-fucking the audience in the worst way possible?  They then set about doing exactly that.
The characters around which the plot are built are each unlikable in myriad ways.  Robert Forster in his cameo was the exception.  You could see where there appeared to be a serious attempt to make the characters quirky and charming, but there was an almost surreal quality to them that backfired.
Robert Pattinson is an outright freak, and that’s being kind.  Where did he get all of that money?  He shows little to no ability or intelligence in the movie.  He just kind of sprouts into being in the film, like a toadstool.  Why no back story on how he made his fortune.  I don’t like to see Robert Pattinson this way!  It would be like Arnold Schwarznegger playing a grave digger.
David Zellner is somewhat likeable until things get weird as sh*t towards the end.
Mia Wasikowska is supposed to be an out-of-place feminist icon in Damsel, per some material I read out there, which is why I think the movie has said title in an ironic sort of way. The character is anything but in need of rescue, but her personality is so extremely obnoxious it’s hard to watch her.
OK, I was wrong.  There is one extremely charming character in Damsel:  Butterscotch, the miniature horse.  Butterscotch is the star of this movie!  I’m not sure if Butterscotch was a metaphor or not, but it is likely.  For what, I’m not going to give any thought to.
Damsel is an attempted frankenstein of other, successful comedies that have been made, such as Blazing Saddles and Fargo; however instead of humorous, it is mean-spirited and awkward.  The only time it isn’t is when Butterscotch is involved.
It’s a pity all of that talent, the beautiful landscape, etc. went to waste in Damsel.  It could have been so much more!

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