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Movie Review: 'Krisha'

It's a character assassination party as Krisha struggles to maintain our interest.

Review by Matt Cummings

In Writer/Director/Editor Trey Edward Shults' Krisha, complex family values clash when the lone wolf Krisha (Krisha Fairchild) arrives at her sister's suburban Texas Thanksgiving. At first, the tone is friendly as everyone tries hard to accommodate her bra-less 60's style freedoms and battles with sobriety; but eventually, she returns to her old ways, reminding everyone why she left the family in the first place.

There's a lot in Krisha that's hard to figure out such as the unnecessary aspect ratio switches and the several long shots throughout. They don't really improve the plot, and Shults' effort looks like a candidate for film class. At just 83 minutes, Krisha wants to be a slow-burn drama about the result of one woman's damage to her family, but like the titular lone wolf it soon starts to unwind. When that happens, its Broadway DNA reveals a cheapness that's never fully explained. Sure, we know that Krisha has destroyed her life and will continue to do so until the bitter end, but the true cause of her abnormality remains hidden in a lock box of pills and scraps of paper. We see a character who's obviously worn out her welcome, but the family's dynamics fail to keep our attention.

It's always better to show plot than it is to speak it, but Krisha desperately needs drive the story. This is no pressure cooker with deep character interactions, and when the ugly ending arrives it feels dispassionately separated. Moreover, it suffers from a lack of quality actors to surround Fairchild. In a critical scene, all sister Robyn Fairchild can do is look confused and offer pithy advice to Krisha before the final insult is unleashed. It doesn't help that Shults opts for the smaller aspect ratio again here, as it's clear he's trying too hard to make the scene work. What really drives Krisha is the uniquely odd and beautiful music by Composer Brian McOmber. It sets a dark thriller tone for what feels like a Broadway play captured on-camera.

As things begin to unravel, one character tells Krisha, "You are heartbreak incarnate" and "A bird that hit one too many windshields." That's cruel to hear, but this is all Krisha can muster; it exists only to destroy someone who's already hanging on by a thread, to expose their worries over her and to see what happens when she loses all hope of redemption. If that sort of character assassination is your thing, then have at it.

Krisha is rated R for for language, substance abuse and some sexual content and has a runtime of 83 minutes.

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