SXSW 2021: the fallout | Festivals and awards

The first touch in “The Fallout” that shows Park’s peculiar and compelling cinematic sensibility is in the way she presents the incident, the school filming that takes place a few minutes after the film starts, and then rings in your eyes. ears for the rest. She knows we don’t need to see violence, or guns, to perceive the full trauma of the experience, and Park presents the film with two daughters, Vada (Jenna Ortega) and Mia (Maddie Ziegler). ) in a separate toilet when filming begins. Vada crawls into Mia’s booth, then a shocked classmate named Quinton (Niles Fitch) joins them, covered in his brother’s blood. It is a deeply, deeply horrible moment that fulfills the horribly ordinary nature of the event.

From there, the rest of “The Fallout” follows Vada, witnessing her delayed relationships with her family (like her loving parents and sister, the latter to whom she texted just before filming) and her friends at a time when she couldn’t talk about it. On the fringes of the study of Park’s character is the society that normalizes these unfathomable and traumatic experiences by being essentially a part of growing up. His emotions then work with the more revealing but casual dialogue, like when Vada’s friend Nick casually talks about what he’s done with his day – he’s gone to a rally. “It was cool, they let me talk. Nick becomes something of a stand-in for teens known in the media for their trauma, but Vada is quite representative of those who don’t get media attention and live with it all the same. She goes to the various funerals, she doesn’t know why she survived. She goes to therapy (with Shailene Woodley’s therapist giving Judd Hirsch / “Ordinary People” the vibe), and she doesn’t feel a thing.

The ambition of this film is to play in a league different from that of many of its peers; it starts with an obscurity and relevance that many filmmakers spend their careers never wanting to touch. But that’s also part of the flip side of “The Fallout,” as it becomes all the more evident when scenes seem to be more context-driven than revealing. Park’s storyline wants to sit down with someone after that experience and capture the growth and experiences, but sometimes it seems like he wants to be more than pushing us more. The tone may be low in the process; some scenes are just plain sad, or some are just funny, and some are more related to dating (like with Mia, his new friend) and he’s not sure how strong these script fragments are. without their heartbreaking context. Whenever the story seems simple, it reads like a missed opportunity to engage in this extremely complicated experience that we don’t often see through the eyes of someone like Vada.

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