Like, But(t)

Freaks will have to wait another day, because a newer release — about freaks of its own — has come a-knocking.

Let’s break down Villains into its component parts:

The set-up: Like Bonnie & Clyde, but silly & dumb.

The bulk: Like Funny Games, but in reverse.

The execution: the movie doth quirk too much, a superficial weirdness that feels like an outgrowth of the filmmakers transparently wanting to differentiate the proceedings from the boring, unremarkable norm, a (usually unsuccessful) means of grabbing the audience’s attention with a self-awarely odd personality that’s more for our benefit than being sufficiently grounded in extremely out-there truths that call for such outsized expressions. This unconvincing eccentricity calls attention to the obvious artifice, ultimately inhibiting the movie’s preposterous veers into the Serious, Sincere, and Sentimental. Like the aforementioned put-upon abnormality, is there any justification for this tonal change other than that’s what the filmmakers envisioned for the story?

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