Oct 9, 2015
Day 9: A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT (2014)
I've been trying to suss out my feelings regarding A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and it's tough, man, it's tough. "Mildly disappointed and slightly misled coupled with a dash of 'aw, dang' but I still enjoyed it and gosh it was pretty" is the best I can do to sum it up. Everything about this movie was so damn intriguing. The Girl (Sheila Vand) is a captivating figure as she stalks the dark streets, her pale face striking in her black chador. The film was touted as the "first Iranian vampire western", which...come on! Who doesn't want to see that? Yeah, it's Iran by way of southern California (Taft is a stand-in for the fictional Bad City), and while I'm not sure exactly what I expected regarding the "western" bit, but I thought it would translate to something beyond a Morricone-esque soundtrack.
At least the "vampire" part is true. The Girl does indeed sprout fangs and make with the bite-bite on occasion. There are also figurative vampires who suck the life and souls from everyone around them...why, there's even a plastic-fanged imitation Dracula. It's a metaphor-riddled quasi-horror film more than a straight bloodsucker flick though, closer kin to Abel Ferrara's The Addiction (1995) than Nosferatu. There are strains of Let the Right One In here, too, in the central love story that explores how far a young man will go in his devotion to a monster. Unfortunately, the relationship between The Girl and her suitor Arash (Arash Marandi) lacks passion of any kind...and you know, that's sort of my problem with the film as a whole. It's gorgeous. Stunning, even. Bad City is an interesting, if unexplored place; the glimpses we get of its freaky inhabitants and...uh, the ravine full of bodies...call to mind some kind of David Lynch city/circus of the damned. Ultimately, though, the entire affair comes off as cold and lifeless as The Girl herself. I like a sense of mystery–we learn nothing about our protagonist beyond her apparent affection for pop music–but the framework surrounding that mystery is too thin to support it.
All that said, I look forward to whatever writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour cooks up next, because A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night certainly has a lot going for it. "I wanted more from it" ain't a bad complaint to have.
(Side note: this was the real star of the film. A++ kitty acting for sure!)