A gimmick can often make or break a film’s success, especially if the gimmick takes away from the true essence of what the filmmakers are trying to say.
Although The Jazz Singer is not a particularly good film in itself, it is remembered as the film that ushered in the era of the “talkie”. Then you have The Wizard of Oz, which is an undeniable masterpiece whose trick of going from black and white in Kansas to full color in Oz is as effective today as it was in 1939.
More recently, advances in digital technology, editing and cinematography have given us films with very elaborate long takes, or even entire films made to look like one uncut shot, like Birdman and 1917. And Ang Lee shoots Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and Gemini Man at 120 frames per second (five times faster than the standard 24 frames per second), which not only makes them look sharper and more real , but also gives people headaches. until they don’t notice it at all.
The gimmick of writer-director Brian Duffield’s new sci-fi horror film Nobody Can Save You, streaming exclusively on Hulu, is that there’s only one line of dialogue in its 93-minute runtime. It’s a bold choice, sure, but it ranges from disappointing to inconsequential with each passing scene, the gimmick just a starting point.
After this initial thrill of production, the way all films before The Jazz Singer were shot – just action, sound effects and music – creativity is unleashed and the power of visual storytelling comes to the fore. The only problem is that the two stories this film wants to tell don’t always work together, resulting in a beautifully made but narratively unsatisfying film with a fun gimmick.
The film follows Brynn (played by Kaitlyn Dever), a seamstress living in her childhood home as she mourns the loss of her mother and best friend. She lives a secluded life and is shunned by the city, instead coping with her losses by building a model city in her living room.
One night, Brynn wakes up to find an intruder in her home and discovers that it is a humanoid alien. Chasing her through the house as she silently tries to escape, the alien uses telekinesis to capture Brynn before she accidentally kills her. Now that the rest of the city is under alien control, she must stand up against the invaders.
Despite its great potential, Nobody’s Gonna Save You’s biggest problem is the lack of coherence between the present action plot (a girl defending her home and herself from alien invaders) and the emotional human story (a mourning girl). the death of her mother and best friend for unknown reasons before the third act.
Regardless of the reason, Brynn is a character who is dealing with a common but equally terrible loss, and her isolation from the community doesn’t help, instead she goes through pain and suffering on her own before she can forgive herself for everything that happened. . After all, the title of the film is just the beginning of the full phrase: “No one will save you but yourself.”
Good stuff, sure, but what about an alien invasion? What did the aliens want? Why are there so many different forms of them? Did they care that Brynn killed one? How will her injury affect what they decide to do with her? All of these questions and more are never answered and, with the exception of the narrative and emotional climaxes a few minutes before the end credits, they never really add up.
Luckily, Dever is a superb actor who carries all the scenes. Even though she only spoke five words in one particular scene, all of her thoughts and emotions and the journey she goes on are showcased from the first minute. She’s been excelling in supporting roles in high-profile films for years now, and this is undoubtedly the best of her few leading roles to date.
But the way Brynn is chased and coughed like a rag doll and crashed into walls and floors throughout the entire runtime without shouting a single four-letter curse word may be the most incredible thing about this alien invasion horror film. It’s a fun trick, but there are a few misfires in the execution.