So it falls to me to be that guy. The woke critic who points out that the film sadistically brutalizes women for 120 minutes of entertainment in order, ostensibly, to tell us that brutalizing women is bad. That supporting the film so that we can have more films opened by and anchored by women is only really progress if the films themselves are any good. That even as revenge porn, the film hedges its bets both by elongating the violence against Cecilia and eliding the “cathartic” payback against Adrian.
I typically don’t write up movies I just flat out hate, because those reviews are not particularly interesting nor persuasive. Plus, I tend to think if 90% of the world disagrees with me, maybe I’m the one who is missing something. But then I think, what’s the point of being on Rotten Tomatoes if you can’t say once a year or so that the rest of the film blogosphere is off its rocker?
I don’t really dispute that there is craftsmanship on display here. Moss is terrific, as she always is. The sound design and jump cuts are clever and effective, but it’s all in service of a sadistic premise wrapped in the garb of moral seriousness.
Most of all, this movie sucks because it asks us to cheer Elisabeth Moss’s character at the end when we know somewhere in our souls that her violence, however much it was justified, will haunt her, not free her.
P. S. @me if you must, but please don’t mansplain the movie to me. I get that you think it is a parable of domestic violence, or a showcase for Moss, or an illustration of what horror as a genre is for. The rest of the world agrees with you, so the only possible reason to want/need me to sign off on these interpretations would be because there is security in numbers.