After being foiled on several occasions by inclement weather and ill-conceived show times, I finally got to catch Ana Lily Amirpour's A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night.
In the lonesome town of Bad City, a nomadic vampire and a petty criminal cross paths and strike up a relationship.
So, was it worth the wait? Absolutely. I enjoyed this film for several reasons. First, Girl has this wonderful otherworldly essence. Bad City was sprawling yet only seemed to be inhabited by the dozen or so characters we see in the film and no one seemed to question the pit of dead bodies right on the outskirts of town. The film was shot in California, but to be honest if someone had said it was made in the Middle East, I wouldn't have questioned it.
I should mention that anyone walking in expecting a straight-up horror film may be disappointed, as in many ways it is barely a genre film. I liken Girl a lot to last year's Spring in that it is ostensibly a romance with one of the parties not being what they appear to be. The main difference here is that Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead are dialogue driven folks and Amirpour clearly favours a more minimalist approach. Considering what Girl does offer though, I had no problems with this whatsoever.
Amirpour uses visuals to tell the story, especially in the characterization of the Girl herself, for which Sheila Vand is terrific. I always appreciate performances that give us more with a look than any line of dialogue could. I also really liked the music in the film, which was good as I feel that the director may have leaned on it a bit too much in some sequences.
In addition to Vand though, the cat in the film almost stole the show. The more I think about the film, the more I am questioning whether it was actually about his adventures.
This feline's name is Masuka and he is one of the best cat actors I have ever seen! It was so refreshing to see a cat in a genre film that wasn't used as fodder for someone to find mangled in the last act. I'd love to see a spin-off movie with him!
I can also see how it may not be everyone's cup of blood, but I thought A Girl Who Walks Alone At Night was a vibrant and engaging tale about two lost souls (and a cat), and makes no apologies for foregoing the bells and whistles of modern genre storytelling. This is exactly the kind of stuff the film-going community should be nurturing.