Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
The Sydney Film Festival is wrapped up for 2019! Click here to check out our must-see films with the SWITCH team's reviews.x
review, Greta, Greta, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Isabelle Huppert, Chloë Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe, Colm Feore, Stephen Rea, Zawe Ashton, Parker Sawyers, Jessica Claire Preddy, Jane Perry, Angela Thompson Georgas, Neil Jordan film rating

GRETA

★★★

ISABELLE HUPPERT: HORROR ICON?!

THEATRICAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Daniel Lammin
27th February 2019

A new film from acclaimed director Neil Jordan, starring living legend Isabelle Huppert and the always at least fascinating Chloë Grace Moretz. That sounds like a pretty juicy prospect, doesn’t it? Well, with ‘Greta’, this unexpected mix becomes a reality. But what is ‘Greta’? Is it a high class drama, the kind we expect from Huppert? Is it a daring indie, the kind we expect from Moretz?

No. ‘Greta’ is neither of those things. That’s too chill for ‘Greta’. And this film? This film has no chill whatsoever. This film is bonkers.

When Francis (Moretz, ‘Suspiria’, ‘Kick-Ass’ franchise) finds a handbag left on a New York subway train, she does the right thing and returns it to its owner, a lonely but sophisticated French woman named Greta Hideg (Huppert, ‘Elle’, ‘Happy End’). They form a connection and start to become friends, but very soon Francis begins to suspect that Greta’s intentions may not be so innocent.

Let’s just get this out of the way - ‘Greta’ is absolute trash, a throwback to when thrillers were nasty, gnarly and nuts. The dialogue is stilted, the narrative twists are preposterous and there’s not an ounce of subtlety in it. So what on earth are talents of the calibre of Neil Jordan, Chloë Grace Moretz, cinematographer Seamus McGarvey and Isabelle friggin’ Huppert doing making something that’s essentially a B-grade pseduo-psychological thriller? Having the time of their lives, obviously, because even though ‘Greta’ is in no way a great film, it’s sure as hell a fun one. The screenplay co-written by Jordan and Ray Wright is a real clunker, full of gaping plot holes and dialogue as chewy and tough as stale beef jerky, but in execution, everyone involved totally embraces the melodrama and spins it into something between a soap opera and a Grand Guignol.

SWITCH: 'GRETA' TRAILER

In fact, the screenplay may be the only real negative in this whole film. It’s a pretty sizeable one, and a stronger one would have made a more satisfying film, but it’s hard to really complain when the result is such a blast. ‘Greta’ is high camp, high melodrama, histrionic to a fault, unexpectedly nasty in all the right ways, and plays entirely at a 10 until it suddenly erupts into a 50. It manages to weave in some subtext about the divide between generations and the crippling psychological effects of loneliness in a big city, but it’s also about one of the greatest actors on the face of the planet essentially play Annie Wilkes’ crazy European cousin in fabulous hats and a brown bob.

Jordan intrinsically understands the operatic nature of ‘Greta’, and so his execution is likewise ridiculous and unexpectedly sumptuous. The film is at its best where the dialogue falls away and Jordan is able to build moments of exquisite tension, a series of disquieting images sliced together wickedly by editor Nick Emerson and shot with almost Hitchcocknian finesse by McGarvey. The thundering issues with the dialogue and narrative are embraced rather than ignored, with the film giving you just as much permission to laugh with it as much as be thrilled by it. This pays off in spades as the film goes on, moving from an affected series of dramatic glances into genuine terror and finally into full-blown and totally earned operatic violence. In fact, it only becomes clear why ‘Greta’ feels like such an odd duck of a film once you reach the third act and its oddness is justified. A lot of this comes down to Jordan’s unique skills as a director, being one of the few directors proficient with gothic melodrama and horror. There might be wild inconsistencies in character and narrative in ‘Greta’, but the tone is relatively watertight, and for a film that’s so much about style and mood, that ends up being far more important.

‘Greta’ is high camp, high melodrama, histrionic to a fault, unexpectedly nasty in all the right ways, and plays entirely at a 10 until it suddenly erupts into a 50.

Integral to that are the three central performances, and much like the film, it’s only once you reach the third act where the careful work of Huppert, Moretz and Maika Monroe (who plays Francis’ super-rich housemate Erica) becomes apparent. Neither Moretz or Monroe can really get around how horrid the dialogue is, and the way Moretz really pitches for the wholesome with Francis is initially a little bland, but you realise very soon that they’re essentially being asked to play cyphers of characters (I have to admit, I didn’t even know Francis was her name until half an hour in), and rather than this being a negative, it contributes nicely to the fake facade of the whole affair.

Huppert is another beast entirely. To begin with, she feels like she has one foot in the film and one foot out, and you start to wonder what on earth an actor of her magnitude is doing in this nonsense. As it enters its second act though, and Greta goes from odd to unhinged to downright psychotic, you see exactly why she’s here: to go "fuck it" and dance around being a deranged nasty nutcase terrorising young women and still look classy as hell in the process. Truth be told, Huppert is far too sophisticated and stunning to be believable as a lonely recluse, and her little isolated flat is a bit too fancy and French for a woman who doesn’t seem to have a job or any form of income and living in New York, but when she’s this camp and this vicious, who cares! Greta Hideg is the horror icon every gay man has dreamed of, dressed to kill with the emotional pyrotechnics of Glenn Close in ‘Fatal Attraction’ and the blood-curdling inventiveness of Kathy Bates in ‘Misery’.

Honestly, I hope this is the beginning of a ‘Greta’ horror franchise. I want to see more of Huppert leaving handbags on public transport for unsuspecting your girls so she can entrap them and be their crazy pseudo-mummy. I want sequels and I want prequels. They don’t even have to be good. Hell, this one isn’t! But as long as they are a bizarre and unapologetically crazy, I’d happily watch Isabelle Huppert as Greta Hideg dance around with her weapons of choice to a bit of Chopin any day. I am obsessed. "Is it palatable?" will now be in my lexicon forever. I will need this entire film GIF’ed for my use in any situation. For half an hour afterwards, my friend and I were still screaming and crying with laughter thinking about all the nuts shit we had seen and heard in this strange, strange film. I really can’t adequately put this one into words. Just go and see it. I wish you as fabulous an evening of fun as I had with it.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 28/02/2019
RUN TIME: 1h 38m
CAST: Isabelle Huppert
Chloë Grace Moretz
Maika Monroe
Colm Feore
Stephen Rea
Zawe Ashton
Parker Sawyers
Jessica Claire Preddy
Jane Perry
Angela Thompson Georgas
DIRECTOR: Neil Jordan
PRODUCERS: Sidney Kimmel
Lawrence Bender
John Penotti
Karen Richards
GretaTheFilm
GretaFilm
GretaFilm
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Yesterday - A new British comedy with a little help from The Beatles
TRENDINGWIN YESTERDAYA new British comedy with a little help from The Beatles
Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan - Close to home
TRENDINGDANGER CLOSE: THE BATTLE OF LONG TANClose to home
Yesterday - Great concept, disappointing execution
TRENDINGYESTERDAYGreat concept, disappointing execution
Toy Story 4 - Entertaining but thoroughly unnecessary
TRENDINGTOY STORY 4Entertaining but thoroughly unnecessary
Claire Darling - A French film fail
TRENDINGCLAIRE DARLINGA French film fail
The Final Quarter - Tackling a shameful chapter in AFL history
TRENDINGTHE FINAL QUARTERTackling a shameful chapter in AFL history
Standing Up For Sunny - A comedy without the comedy but very sweet
TRENDINGSTANDING UP FOR SUNNYA comedy without the comedy but very sweet
My Big Gay Italian Wedding - A ridiculously fun love story
TRENDINGMY BIG GAY ITALIAN WEDDINGA ridiculously fun love story
2040 - A hopeful look into our environmental future
TRENDING2040A hopeful look into our environmental future
Parasite - A bloodthirsty and very funny look at class warfare
TRENDINGPARASITEA bloodthirsty and very funny look at class warfare
Saturday Afternoon - A shocking and abrasive assessment of terrorism
TRENDINGSATURDAY AFTERNOONA shocking and abrasive assessment of terrorism
The Third Wife - Artistic, painful and beautiful
TRENDINGTHE THIRD WIFEArtistic, painful and beautiful
Kursk - When tragedy and bureaucracy collide
TRENDINGKURSKWhen tragedy and bureaucracy collide
The Nightingale - A blunt and brutal period piece
TRENDINGTHE NIGHTINGALEA blunt and brutal period piece
Judy & Punch - A dark fairytale from a fresh Australian voice
TRENDINGJUDY & PUNCHA dark fairytale from a fresh Australian voice
Back of the Net - Misses the net, and then some
TRENDINGBACK OF THE NETMisses the net, and then some
Blinded By The Light - The spiritual sequel to Bend It Like Beckham
TRENDINGBLINDED BY THE LIGHTThe spiritual sequel to Bend It Like Beckham
School of Seduction - Husband hunting in Russia
TRENDINGSCHOOL OF SEDUCTIONHusband hunting in Russia
The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir - An endearing tale of destiny
TRENDINGTHE EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY OF THE FAKIRAn endearing tale of destiny
Gallipoli - A powerful and important film remembered
TRENDINGGALLIPOLIA powerful and important film remembered
© 2011 - 2019 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us