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Review: I Think We're Alone Now (Sundance)

I Think We're Alone Now (Sundance)
01.26.2018
6 10

PLOT: In the aftermath of an apocalyptic event, a recluse, Del (Peter Dinklage) finds himself literally the last man on earth. His seclusion is interrupted by the arrival of a young woman, Grace (Elle Fanning) who tries to break down his resolve and somehow establish a type of relationship with him - given that they’re each others only hope for any kind of companionship.

REVIEW: Director Reed Morano, after a long career as a cinematographer, has recently broken through as a big time director on the merits of her direction of Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”. I THINK WE’RE ALONE NOW is her feature-directorial debut, with it soon-to-be-followed by the Blake Lively spy thriller, THE RHYTHM SECTION, which is notably produced by the James Bond series’s EON productions.

Based on this, Morano is a solid choice for any studio looking to mount a big film, with her giving I THINK WE’RE ALONE NOW a rich look that’s distinct from any apocalyptic tale that I’ve seen in the most logical way. Movies like THE OMEGA MAN and its remake, I AM LEGEND, as well as countless others always look a little too brightly photographed considering that electricity shouldn’t exist in the aftermath of such an event. In I THINK WE’RE ALONE NOW, Morano, who also serves as the DP, shoots all interiors and night scenes in appropriate low-lighting, given that Del’s only sources are candles and battery operated lamps. Yet, she also makes sure we’re able to see what’s going on - it’s a fine line she walks between realism and clarity, but she does it well. Certainly, I THINK WE’RE ALONE NOW is the most strikingly shot film at the fest this year.

Otherwise, this is a good, if not great apocalyptic story, which benefits greatly from two well-cast leads, given that it’s essentially a two-hander. The energy between this mis-matched duo, with Fanning significantly younger, is effective, with their relationship slowly building over the course of the film out of necessity. If they’re the last two people alive, they can’t really afford not to like each other. Thus, Dinklage’s Del, who was used to being alone long before the apocalypse ever happened, has to let her in, while Fanning’s Grace has to respect his boundaries, with him meticulously continuing his work as the town librarian, recovering books from the houses he cleans out (burying the corpses along the way).

Much will be made of the film’s last act, which prompts a major reversal and changes the genre of film we’re watching, and this reveal maybe happens too close to the end to really work. Many critics here have stated in their reviews the film was better off without it, while others believe the last act could have been a movie in itself. I think it would have worked fine, had it happened much earlier - as how it goes down here gives the climax a rushed feel that ends the film on an off-key note.

Even still, much of I THINK WE’RE ALONE NOW works, with Morano’s direction allowing lots of atmosphere to sink in, while still finding some comic relief, such as the character’s conflicting tastes in music (she likes hip-hop, he’s seriously into Rush). Fanning and Dinklage, who I remember seeing together in another Sundance title, LOW DOWN, work well together, and while inconsistent, this is still a good sci-fi, end of the world tale with a different flavor from most.

Source: JoBlo.com

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