Written by: Dewey Singleton
Neil Jordan’s Greta is the type of film that will give the audience nightmares. It’s not necessarily due to anything gross or over the top, but Jordan has crafted a release which is well-paced and expertly executed. Isabelle Huppert’s portrayal of the title role is a slow simmering cauldron of crazy which reaches a boiling point in the most entertaining manner. Not to be outdone, Chloe Grace Moretz is perfect as Frances (a waitress who tries to do the right thing but is trapped in Greta’s web of deception).
Ray Wright and Jordan crafted the narrative which gives Huppert so much to work with onscreen. My only question was why wasn’t that sort of detail given towards Moretz’s character? At times we get the sense that Frances has an independent streak, but somehow she becomes somewhat helpless when she’s trapped by Greta. We do have small glimpses of what might be (especially with how creative she gets with that cookie cutter), but she is rather listless for a large chunk of the film. Do I think each actress did an excellent job? Yes, but I think there was more to explore about Frances than what we saw unfold in this tale.
Seamus McGarvey’s cinematography is a big reason why this film is the success it is. So much of what grabs our attention is the terror of the unseen. McGarvey makes use of shadows and creative lighting choices to heighten the tension at every turn. Javier Navarrette’s score perfectly captures the tone and mood of this storyline. It’s as if his notes were the perfect thread to hold the whole film together.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone if Greta ends up surpassing expectations at the box-office this weekend as well. There’s not much in the way of competition, (maybe How To Train Your Dragon 3) and fans have proven over the last year that they are drawn to new horror releases.
While I wish that Frances was written to be more of a badass, it doesn’t take away from the overall enjoyment of the piece. Seeing Huppert’s performance more than justifies your price of admission.