Greta (Neil Jordan, 2019)

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DarkImbecile
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Greta (Neil Jordan, 2019)

#1 Post by DarkImbecile » Thu Dec 20, 2018 4:43 pm


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Brian C
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Re: Trailers for Upcoming Films

#2 Post by Brian C » Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:29 pm

I see Isabelle Huppert plays “an eccentric French piano teacher”.

Hmm, that seems like a needlessly specific callback. Imagine a new Brad Pitt movie where he played “a sarcastic anarchist soap salesman.” They couldn’t make Huppert’s character a violin teacher maybe?

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knives
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Re: Trailers for Upcoming Films

#3 Post by knives » Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:32 pm

If it's not broke no need to fix it.

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NABOB OF NOWHERE
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Re: Greta (Neil Jordan, 2019)

#4 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:06 am

Stand by for on set shenanigans


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soundchaser
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Re: Greta (Neil Jordan, 2019)

#6 Post by soundchaser » Sun Mar 03, 2019 7:45 pm

This was a fairly generic 90s style “don’t talk to strangers” movie elevated by excellent central performances from Huppert and Moretz, a brilliant supporting turn by Monroe, and some choice pop song usage. Nothing spectacular - I guessed most of the twists well before they’d played out - although it ratchets up some decent tension and I don’t regret seeing it.

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DarkImbecile
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Re: Greta (Neil Jordan, 2019)

#7 Post by DarkImbecile » Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:52 pm

As soundchaser notes, Greta is a nostalgic throwback to '90s stalker thrillers — though while those were often steamy and sensual, Neil Jordan makes this one as cold-blooded as a snake — that doesn't quite do enough new or surprising to justify its existence, especially if you've seen the trailer. Huppert has some fun, especially because the script allows her character more deranged instability — and therefore more range — and isn't too beholden to the impossibly devious Lecter-esque mastermind these movies often produce. Her behavior is often unpredictable in a way that is counterproductive to her, not uniformly serving some grand diabolical machination, which makes her both more human and a little scarier.

Outside of Huppert, unfortunately, there's little to make the film worthy of a recommendation. Chloe Grace Moretz's character is so passive — both as written and in the performance — that I couldn't help being frustrated with her; Maika Monroe does exactly what she needs to do as Moretz's roommate, and I actually think the film would have been substantially better had the two actors/characters swapped roles in the film:
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While it would have required a bit more of a stretch to do so in terms of plotting and character motivation, putting a character with the entitlement and agency of Monroe's in the relationship with Huppert would have had more volatile possibilities, and the film's ultimate resolution would have been more effective and surprising with the more meek and innocent Moretz saving the day.
I also probably would have enjoyed the camp of the last third had the zanier moments in the film — particularly
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Huppert's reaction to her severed digit and the killing of the private detective
— been taken even farther, pushing the absurdity of the situation to an In Dreams-level extreme that would at least be more memorable. I've seen a handful of Jordan's films over the years, and I can't say I've ever found one that exceeded this kind of tolerable but ultimately disposable mediocrity.
Brian C wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:29 pm
I see Isabelle Huppert plays “an eccentric French piano teacher”.
Not exactly a piano teacher, it turns out, though the piano is pretty key to the mise-en-scène...

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soundchaser
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Re: Greta (Neil Jordan, 2019)

#8 Post by soundchaser » Mon Mar 04, 2019 1:34 pm

I’m not so sure about switching roles, DarkImbecile. Part of what I think makes the bit in your first spoiler box *sort of* work is
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Monroe’s apparent superficiality giving way to her genuine affection for Moretz. It’s not exactly a surprise when she pulls off the wig, but it’s satisfying precisely because we’ve grown to like her over the course of the film. What I’m not sure works is the digression wth the detective. It feels like Jordan wrote himself into a corner with the character - nothing involving him is really engaging, but he’s necessary to (theoretically) trick the audience out of a typical third-act resolution that we wind up getting from Monroe instead.
The script has huge structural problems no matter how you approach it, unfortunately.

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tehthomas
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Re: Greta (Neil Jordan, 2019)

#9 Post by tehthomas » Mon Mar 04, 2019 6:06 pm

This was a quite fun, swiftly executed thriller from Jordan. Enjoyed that he made the city and the subway a character onto itself in the film.
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Near the last act, where Stephen Rea shows up as the PI to Greta's house, that was terrifically tense! Ending was pretty predictable but oh well.
Reminded me somewhat of DePalma and Dressed to Kill. Recommended.

nitin
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Re: Greta (Neil Jordan, 2019)

#10 Post by nitin » Mon Mar 04, 2019 6:09 pm

DarkImbecile wrote:
Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:52 pm

I've seen a handful of Jordan's films over the years, and I can't say I've ever found one that exceeded this kind of tolerable but ultimately disposable mediocrity.
Have you seen Mona Lisa? That is terrific.

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Gregory
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Re: Greta (Neil Jordan, 2019)

#11 Post by Gregory » Mon Mar 04, 2019 6:37 pm

DarkImbecile wrote:
Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:52 pm
Brian C wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:29 pm
I see Isabelle Huppert plays “an eccentric French piano teacher”.
Not exactly a piano teacher, it turns out, though the piano is pretty key to the mise-en-scène...
Also
SpoilerShow
not French,
though Focus Features' synopses of the film (including what Brian quoted) inaccurately state that she is. Perhaps they did that to avoid spoiling the way the film reveals the fact. Still, it seems unusual to have a distributor's synopsis say something false about a character to set up a reveal in the film itself, and a fairly minor, undramatic one at that, so I do wonder if that was a slip on their part.

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Brian C
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Re: Greta (Neil Jordan, 2019)

#12 Post by Brian C » Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:53 am

DarkImbecile wrote:
Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:52 pm
I've seen a handful of Jordan's films over the years, and I can't say I've ever found one that exceeded this kind of tolerable but ultimately disposable mediocrity.
I've not seen any of his movies before The Crying Game, but I've seen most of his films from then on, and I'd more or less agree with this, although a couple I've liked more than the bar you've set for him. I suppose the way I think of his films is that they often contain elements that are interesting to me, combined with execution that meets the minimum level to make something acceptable out of them.

But I can't even manage that level of enthusiasm for this film, which had pretty much nothing to offer for me. I'm not generally one to get distracted by plot holes, but this is so ludicrously plotted that I honestly felt a little taken aback by the sheer lack of effort evident in the writing. There are so many decisions made by the characters in this movie that are sub-parodic, and it's frustrating, because it really shouldn't be that difficult to come up with a story with some level of plausibility in which it's difficult for someone to shake a stalker. I mean, Soderbergh made a movie like that just last year.

But even beyond that, this is a middling effort. The one unique visual idea the film comes up with is the elevator scene, and too much of the film's effect is reliant on bog standard jump scares and musical stings. Moretz's performance was fine to me - sensitive and passive seemed the right choice for a character like that - but I thought Monroe was terrible. And I really do admire Huppert, but I think there has to be some acknowledgment here that this role just might be a little too on-brand for her.

I suppose the bottom line for me is that there's just so little here that seems either thoughtful or imaginative. At least Jordan's last 5 feature films now have revolved in different ways around predators and monsters (I haven't seen The Good Thief, so I'm counting from there), but for someone who dips that well so often, he seems to give pretty superficial treatment of those characters. The interview that lzx links to above has this quote from him:
”Motherhood is a great maelstrom of psychosexual problems and issues, and I thought that was at the heart of Greta in some way.”
I mean ... come on. That's just obnoxious retrograde hooey, and at any rate, "motherhood" has nothing to do with Greta except that the writers needed some half-baked nonsense to semi-suggest an origin story. There's no real attempt to develop this thematically, and in fact the movie associates classical piano with her psychosis to an equal or possibly greater degree than motherhood. But of course saying that Liszt drives her to insanity would be stupid.

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Mr Sheldrake
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Re: Greta (Neil Jordan, 2019)

#13 Post by Mr Sheldrake » Thu Mar 07, 2019 7:30 am

As the plausibility and originality factors could be quickly discerned at near zero I contented myself with some lovely closeups of Huppert and Moretz and recognizing that the latter played the frightened dancer who gave Suspiria a promising beginning.

Then I searched for a subtext to mull over. Moretz wasn't suffering from Mommy issues as much as Daddy issues. She couldn't accept that he had moved on with the implication he had found a new girlfriend. Perhaps a more interesting movie could have been made if Huppert had been eccentric but non-lethal, a clinging Moretz drifting into a child-like madness unable to cope with the loss of Mom and the betrayal of Dad.

By the end I was as bored and sleepy as Stephen Rea looked, awakened by old pal Jordan to do a surprisingly brief Arbogast turn.
Last edited by Mr Sheldrake on Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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thirtyframesasecond
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Re: Greta (Neil Jordan, 2019)

#14 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:28 pm

Jordan's pretty decent if he makes one of his own films (Angel, Mona Lisa, The Crying Game), not so good if he's capitalising on it to make generic studio fare.

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swo17
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Re: Greta (Neil Jordan, 2019)

#15 Post by swo17 » Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:32 pm

For my money, The Company of Wolves is his best film (which also meets your criterion).

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mfunk9786
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Re: Greta (Neil Jordan, 2019)

#16 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Mar 07, 2019 4:21 pm

Seeing a double-feature of this and Climax tomorrow. Planning on losing about 3-4 IQ points by the end of the evening, keep your fingers crossed for me

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Fiery Angel
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Re: Greta (Neil Jordan, 2019)

#17 Post by Fiery Angel » Thu Mar 07, 2019 4:29 pm

You'll lose at least 20 just from Greta, can't speak to the Noe film though.

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DarkImbecile
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Re: Greta (Neil Jordan, 2019)

#18 Post by DarkImbecile » Sat Mar 09, 2019 2:15 am

Brian C wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:53 am
I'm not generally one to get distracted by plot holes, but this is so ludicrously plotted that I honestly felt a little taken aback by the sheer lack of effort evident in the writing.
This makes me realize that I completely forgot to mention the most absurd element of the film, a plot contrivance on which the whole third act hinges:
SpoilerShow
The idea that no one knows where Greta lives and can't find her at all after she kidnaps Moretz' character.

It would be one thing if no one else had interacted with Greta prior to the kidnapping ... but she was arrested and institutionalized after attacking Moretz at the restaurant! After she had already contacted the police about Greta multiple times! It absolutely beggars belief that no one had Greta's address or any other way of finding her once Moretz disappeared, and that the script just hopes the audience will accept this to allow for her imprisonment is sheer laziness.

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Monterey Jack
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Re: Greta (Neil Jordan, 2019)

#19 Post by Monterey Jack » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:51 pm

DarkImbecile wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 2:15 am
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The idea that no one knows where Greta lives and can't find her at all after she kidnaps Moretz' character.

It would be one thing if no one else had interacted with Greta prior to the kidnapping ... but she was arrested and institutionalized after attacking Moretz at the restaurant! After she had already contacted the police about Greta multiple times! It absolutely beggars belief that no one had Greta's address or any other way of finding her once Moretz disappeared, and that the script just hopes the audience will accept this to allow for her imprisonment is sheer laziness.
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How about Maika Monroe's "plan" to locate and rescue Moretz...to just take random trains while wearing a silly wig right out of a Brian De Palma movie and hope to find a random purse. 8-[ How long was she DOING that?! Was Greta leaving them on the exact same train every time? The movie seems to indicate that Moretz was imprisoned for weeks, and yet she doesn't seem that physically bad-off after spending all/most of that time lashed to a bed while gagged.
I kind of liked the movie on a silly OTT level (it helps that I'm nostalgic for the late-'80s/early-'90s" [BLANK] From Hell" suspense subgenre), and Huppert was clearly having a blast, but if you examine the plot on any sort of logical level, it becomes a shambles of disconnected plot shards that never cohere into a logical whole. There's no way in hell that Greta could have gotten away with her scam for as long as the movie hints.

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Black Hat
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Re: Greta (Neil Jordan, 2019)

#20 Post by Black Hat » Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:17 pm

I'm surprised to hear a number of you take the film seriously when it's pretty clearly in on the joke and as such was the most fun I've had watching a film with an audience in ages. Great, great fun.

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soundchaser
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Re: Greta (Neil Jordan, 2019)

#21 Post by soundchaser » Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:22 pm

Normally I’m sympathetic to readings like yours, Black Hat, but I just didn’t buy it here. There are only two scenes I can think of that go over-the-top enough to signal that the film is having fun with itself, and too many that tilt the scales in the other direction. Can you pinpoint anything specific that made you think the film is as self-aware as you claim?

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Re: Greta (Neil Jordan, 2019)

#22 Post by Monterey Jack » Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:49 pm

Had the movie been more archly stylized in a dream-logic Brian De Palma/David Lynch mode -- or had the movie simply been more tautly suspenseful -- I might have bought the plot holes and contrivances as being intentional, but Jordan's film, while handsomely-shot, nevertheless just seems like he's doing a totally straight-faced riff on a generic "[BLANK] From Hell" suspense potboiler from 25 years ago. Only Huppert's performance seems to know the tone Jordan should have been reaching for. The movie was diverting in the same way an okay "airport novel" is, meaning it passes the time harmlessly for 99 minutes, but once you thread the plot back through your mind and examine it, it totally doesn't hold water. A prime-era De Palma film like Dressed To Kill certainly had its implausibilities, but he was having so much lurid fun with the trappings of cinematic language that you allowed the film its stretches in real-world logic. Plus, he wasn't afraid to treat the material as tasty trash, to push the audience's buttons for something that seemed truly sexy and dangerous and threatening. Jordan's movie is a little too becalmed, and as such the plot holes seem magnified.

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Black Hat
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Re: Greta (Neil Jordan, 2019)

#23 Post by Black Hat » Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:58 am

I don't think it's a matter of what was intended as I don't think the film is concerned with any of that. To me it's really about how do we get from point a to point b in the most fun way possible.


Soundchaser: Greta felt like it was taking the piss out of the self serious, stuffy and complete bore which was Todd Haynes' Carol.
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Its hilarious ending was forget wink, but a high five with the audience. The way she was revealed being outside the restaurant, what happened inside the restaurant, the chewing gum stuff, frankly everything Huppert did was a riot (that dance! haha) with Moretz's naive delicacy making it all the more funny. Then to make it even more ridiculous was her roomie coming to save her.
This movie's not to be taken seriously, I'm sorry so many are missing out on all the fun.

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Re: Greta (Neil Jordan, 2019)

#24 Post by HJackson » Fri Apr 19, 2019 7:43 pm

I'm totally with Black Hat on this. Found this wildly entertaining and, yes, self-aware.
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I think this is particularly apparent, beyond Huppert's performance, in the wonderful fake-dream-sequence dream sequence and the laughably truncated Stephen Rea subplot where the PI is introduced in the third act for no other purpose than to get murdered ten or so minutes later.
DarkImbecile and Monterey Jack:
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I think everyone knew where Greta's house is - both Moretz and Rea seem to find it quite easily, and my read was that Monroe knew where it was, was intentionally stalking Greta on the train*, and picked up the bag as soon as she saw her leave it. As unrealistic as it is, within the logic of the film the authorities are proven repeatedly to be utterly impotent - refusing to act on the initial stalking, releasing Greta almost immediately after the violent restaurant incident - leaving Monroe with no other real recourse.

*I swear there was a shot of Monroe sans wig riding the same train as Greta during this sequence, but the person I saw it with vehmently denied that this was the case.

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Re: Greta (Neil Jordan, 2019)

#25 Post by Lost Highway » Sat May 25, 2019 10:28 am

I thought this didn’t nearly go far enough to be the campy, OTT delight some make this out to be. I also found Huppert’s performance too low key for the film to truly soar, this is not the type of film which benefits from subtlety. Where is Faye Dunaway when you need her ?

I watched Greta in a double bill with The Perfection last night and while that wasn’t exactly a good film, at least it delivered on the camp, the thrills and it served up some outrageous plot twists.

I liked several of Jordan’s early films but over the last couple of decades I found everything he’s done mediocre. I’d file this next to other oddly subdued and underwhelming thrillers of his like In Dreams, The Brave One and Byzantium.

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