Malady Is A Feast For The Eyes
Malady Film Details
Director: Jack James
Writer: Jack James
26th, February 2015 (USA)
11 July 2017
Film festival world premiere
MPAA Rating: N/A
Running Time: 93 min
Explores the strength of love when it’s built out of grief and is challenged with shame, guilt and secrets.
Malady had its world premiere back in 2015 during Cinequest Film Festival and since then it has got selected by many film festivals and it has a huge amount of great reviews. Since July 11 it has released on DVD and you can watch it almost everywhere from Amazon to iTunes. Also, you should. Malady is one hell of a surprise.
Holly loses her mother and falls in love with Matthew, a lonely soul, just like her. There aren’t many words shared by these two fallen angels but they have this chemistry together that fills the screen and our eyes. There’s lust and there’s love. Matthew soon realizes that his mother is dying so they move there together and that’s when a dark and disturbing mother and son relationship take control of Holly and Matthew’s romance.
Malady is not for everyone but it is a disturbing and yet beautiful piece of art. You’ve been warned.
There’s so much beauty represented in Malady. First of all, I should imply that this film is not for everyone. It isn’t. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just that at first, it’s hard to understand Jack James’ vision of it. There is a lot of close ups, 90% of the film feels claustrophobic and intimate, even though there’s not that much intimacy between the characters, so that’s interesting. There’s a lot of shaky movements and out of focus that gets better as the story unfolds. As you watch Malady you understand that it has a vision behind all of it and when you get how Jack wants us to watch his film you achieve how he wants us to feel. That’s magical. You get to learn how to love the film and you get to understand his vision. I would say “good job”. It works.
One aspect I found refreshing and beautiful is how sex has representation and how this was shot. It felt real and raw. The lust is palpable. The characters don’t speak to one another and their connection has representation here by sex. Every time they feel passion, the passionate sex, every time they are angry, the sexy is heavier and so on… Every emotion translates with sex and it’s great idea. Some of the scenes are explicit but it’s intended and they are sublime.
The cinematography is throughout pretty well done with some cold blue-ish colors at the beginning and as the story unfolds Jack gives us a different tone with dark and warm colors when the tension and confusion begin. Effective.
The performances from all three actors are astonishing. They seem so natural in every scene and how Jack captures their portraits in the video seems like a picture at every frame. Amazing technique and delicate work. It reminded me of Emily Young’s directing in Veronika Dies, an underrated gem. For his first feature, we sure have a great actor’s director and storyteller here. The score is as well amazing. It succumbs every single scene with delicate musicality. It feels that the image and the sound float together as one.
Although I get how Jack wanted to share his vision with the shaky camera, I had some problems with it in the beginning. For a better viewing, I would definitely consider stabilizing some of the shots. It would help with the claustrophobia as well. At some points with all the close ups, I was feeling anxious and breathless.
The editing had some problems too. There were times that just a second less or later of screen time could help out some glitches that I found throughout the feature. It was a bit problematic for the viewing in general. One of the things I’ve learned is that we don’t need to demonstrate everything we write or every description of an action in a film. In the beginning of Malady, we get to know a bit about Holly and Matthew and how they end up together, and I felt disoriented by how many shots were cut and organized. Every single shot had an action in it and sometimes it doesn’t work that way.
We don’t need to see every single action of the character in every shot, and I felt that Jack wanted us to see everything, so he started to cut here and there and even though sometimes it turned out really beautiful, mostly it felt a little rushed and amateur. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved the experience and I understand Jack’s vision but for his next film, I would consider him polishing the actions on post-production and sacrifice some shots for a better viewing. There was so much beauty represented on the shots that sometimes letting them speak for themselves without cutting may be the best answer.
Malady is a psychological horror drama and the horror part sticks under your skin. The subject of the film is disturbing and gets darker towards the end. Definitely had me wanting to watch it again. If you’re a fan of indie drama with a horror twist, you should watch it. Fast.
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