Sundance Review: You’ve Never Seen a Vampire Movie Like the Beautiful, Touching A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT, Produced By Elijah Wood
BY ERIC KOHN
For centuries, vampires have provided handy metaphors for social and physical dilemma, but in the stylishly muted deadpan romance A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT, the threat is personal. Writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour’s stunning debut, produced by Elijah Wood, follows the experiences of a small Iranian town haunted by a vampiric presence who’s just as lonely as the other locals. Shot in gorgeously expressionistic black-and-white and fusing multiple genres into a thoroughly original whole, Amirpour has crafted a beguiling, cryptic and often surprisingly funny look at personal desire that creeps up on you with the nimble powers of its supernatural focus. The director combines elements of film noir and the restraint of Iranian New Wave cinema with the subdued depictions of a bored youth culture found in early Jim Jarmusch…the comparisons go on and on, but the result is wholly original.
From the first frame to its last, the movie establishes a spellbinding atmosphere with long takes, deep shadows, and lively music cues ironically positioned against the cerebral quality of the storytelling, hinting at the vitality threatening to burst forth from its lethargic universe at any moment.