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Review of Girl: Bella Thorne in White-Trash-Country

Most recently, Bella Thorne has mainly with her amazing success on the web portal OnlyFans made headlines. Normally, erotic actresses offer photo series and video clips with naked facts – but Thorne was also able to build up a subscriber base there, which is said to have already earned her a rumored seven-digit dollar amount. In addition to her flourishing career as a pop singer, the ex-Disney Channel child star (Shake It Up!) has also taken over the direction of Her & Him for Pornhub – although the half-hour was even initially seen at some classic film festivals.

Bella Thorne is therefore more popular than ever before – and this is also reflected in her role offers. In 2020 alone, she has starred in four – amazingly different – productions: One of them was the Netflix horror hit “The Babysitter 2: Killer Queen”. Another was “girl“, the first directorial and screenplay work of her acting colleague Chad Faust (“4400 – Die Rückkehrer”). However, the indie revenge thriller, enriched with elements of a social drama, was only partially satisfying for the audience.

A girl and her beil…

A desperate young woman (Bella Thorne), driven by a desire for revenge, gathers all her courage and travels back to her hometown to kill her father. He had once forcibly thrown her and her mother out of the house when she herself was just six years old. When she arrives in the visibly run-down Kaff, however, she first meets the local sheriff (Mickey Rourke), who immediately eyees her suspiciously. After she has finally shaken off the intrusive law enforcement officer, she runs – ready for anything – to the house of her producer.

There, however, she has to realize that someone has apparently preceded her: Dad is dead – apparently brutally tortured and murdered. In the only bar in the area, the woman, who has been bruised for her hoped-for catharsis, tries to find out what might have happened. In addition to advice on finding the distance as quickly as possible, she also hears stories from locals about the father she hates so much. However, the reports stand in stark contrast to what Mom (Elizabeth Saunders) has been telling her about her dad all these years…

Bus ride with beil

We meet the one embodied by Bella Thorne with palpable commitment but fluctuating credibility girlwhile it dawns in an intercity night bus. Next to her is a shoulder bag with a black beil in it. We also get to know almost all the other characters either under a job title or their nickname – which helps to make the distance that the protagonist feels to the “White Trash” small-town scenario in the south of the USA (filmed in the Canadian province of Ontario) tangible for the audience.

Ironically, the place called Golden with its almost deserted streets, the stray dogs, barricaded shops and a slowly decaying school makes an infinitely bleak impression. This atmosphere is cleverly enhanced by the grey colour filter above the images of cinematographer Kristofer Bonnell – as well as by the melancholic synthesizer score by Dillon Baldassero, which sometimes sounds like a lounge version of the soundtracks by John Carpenter.

In Golden, the “girl” encounters new information about her father that deeply shakes her entire self-image.

The highlight of the film, which oscillates between slowburn thriller and depressing social drama, is a harmless beginning, soon more and more out of control encounter of the young woman with a guy in the local laundromat. Because of his alleged successes in the female sex, Charmer the named guy is portrayed by director Chad Faust himself and is an opaque, at least partially fascinating character. Is he just awkwardly friendly to the titular heroine? Is he a creep who only pretends to approach her? Or does he even want to inflict real suffering on her?

Within a few minutes, the harmless flirtation escalates into a life-and-death struggle. This is then ended by the (accidentally?) passing sheriff, who slips out as if by the way a statement that lets the protagonist realize what is really played in Golden. A well-written and authentic by the three actors interpreted moment as well as efficiently put into the picture by Faust. It represents the turning point of the story and could have been the preparation for a furious finale.

A very comfortable chase

“Can” because afterwards simply no real thriller mood may arise. The following script ideas are either too much pulled by the hair or much too predictable. In addition, the pacing and editing of editor Gloria Tong during the action scenes are very sedate. For the first time, this is noticeable in a car chase presented in a less dynamic and without noticeable urgency. Of course, not every thriller has to offer an editing storm à la Michael Bay. But when a filmmaker incorporates such a scene, he should be able to convey at least some sense of pace. Which fails in “Girl” but smoothly. After all, the supposedly wildly hunting wagons in the final product seem more like they were part of a cozy country trip.

The end of the final showdown was hardly better. A physical confrontation ensues, which one of the two figures decides for himself with the help of the use of a special tool. Unfortunately, the decisive move happens mostly off-screen. We only see its beginning and – after a very awkward cut – the result on the ground.

High Noon at the local laundromat…

Here, budget limitations were probably at least one of the reasons. Because in order to implement the set-piece professionally, it would not only have required more effects, but also a first-class stunt team. Since the necessary money does not seem to have been available, the director and author should have found another way to end the conflict conclusively. In this way, however, the confrontation, which has been built up over the entire duration, ends in a bumpy and unsatisfactory finale. The whole thing is almost an anti-clinx, which deprives “Girl” of the last remnant of its initially quite existing power.

Conclusion: The revenge drama begins promisingly atmospheric. In the further course, however, it loses a lot of power due to script weaknesses and problems with the action passages. Too bad, there would have been more in it.

Arjun Sethi
Passionate guitarist, gamer and writer. Lives for the perfect review, and scrapes texts until they are razor-sharp.


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