Promising Young Woman ★★★★★
Starring Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge
Emerald Fennell has finessed her way into the world of feature film directing with an established style and confident telling of a cutting story. And Promising Young Woman avoids a possibility of becoming preachy by shining the focus on vulnerability and consent.
A revenge story is the basic premise, as Cassandra (Carey Mulligan) aims to make men think twice before doing something unthinkable to unprotected or intoxicated women. And in particular the focus is set on torturing the group of people who were involved in the sexual assault on her friend Nina.
Carey Mulligan is phenomenal, and this role gives her a chance to play several characters through Cassie; it’s extraordinary. The film often shows Cassie as the antagonist/villain, awaiting her next victim; but in reality, her victims are the real predators, and a message has to be sent. Bo Burnham is also excellent in the supporting role, giving the right balance of lighter shade to an intense, dramatic thriller. You'd expect a comedian like Burnham to steal the limelight and be the best part of the film, but Mulligan is too good to let that be the case.
The use of music from composer Anthony B. Willis and the soundtrack used is so fitting, always adding something to what’s unfolding on screen. Again, it adds to the horror elements most, building tension and showing an audience exactly who they should be supporting.
The film knows exactly when to show a scene from the male gaze, and when to show it from Cassie’s perspective. Sometimes you are forced to look upon something from the villain’s point of view, and it helps even further to support Cassie on her chaotic conquest.
Emerald Fennell has created a story with so many twists and unpredictability, yet still lands an overall message. Not only is this an extremely important film that needs to be a topic of conversation, but it’s also a nail biting thriller, full to the brim with chaos, carnage and oh so much style.
Promising Young Woman available now on NowTV and Sky Cinema