In Review: Goodnight Mommy ("Ich seh Ich seh") [R] ★★★☆☆
My husband is a professional at uncovering interesting (for lack of a better word) foreign films without knowing it. His latest unbeknownst find is the 2014 Austrian horror flick, "Goodnight Mommy," originally titled "Ich seh, Ich seh," staring Susanne Wuest and twins Elias and Lukas Schwarz. Interestingly, the twins' names are unchanged in the film. Directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala secured a selection at the 88th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.
The look of this film is absolutely beautiful and is in my opinion it's strongest attribute. As more and more films are able to cross over the great seas of the Earth, we're seeing just how much in good company the masters of film making are. Fundamentally, the aesthetics of the movie are rich, crisp, and interesting- composition wise. Aside from the coloring, the rural yet industrial setting and architecture lends itself to the skew of the exposition. It's not unnatural, but it's very atypical. It's very interesting.
More interesting are the characters portrayed in the film. Although all the dialogue in the film is in German, the twin boys playing main characters Lukas and Elias emoted so well that their performances translated seamlessly. Successfully, Ms. Wuest who played the mother (masked almost the entire film by bandages from a recent operation) was left to act through her insanely captivating eyes. Due to the language spoken and lack of facial freedom on the part of one of the main characters, the subtitles are absolutely necessary as the major plot lines can only be drawn and followed from what is said.
Tonally, it's a creepy thriller, but not for the usual reasons. The creepiness organically resonates from the air of ease of living together the characters have despite the fact that something isn't quite right. We all know that one family that has it's own singular dynamic, but rarely do we encounter such as an abrasive love triangle between mother and sons. Healthy spurts of gore and uneasy visuals chiefly steal your security through the film.
Though the cast is light and reads like a screen play, the pace is exact, swift, and does what it should right up until the end of the movie. I wasn't in love with it, but I certainly "like-liked" it.
It's a good popcorn thriller and certainly isn't a waste of time, but be prepared to get a "sense" of how the movie will end before it actually takes place.