Don’t Worry Darling — A Quintessential Psychological Thriller

Next on my ever growing watchlist was Olivia Wilde directed psychological thriller “Don’t Worry Darling”. I love a film that makes me think, or better yet, makes me confused. This seemed like it would do just that.

Set in the1950’s, Alice and her husband Jack live among other couples who are given the privilege of living in a paradise community in exchange for the men working on a top secret government project “Victory”. However, when Alice begins to realise that not everything in her flawless life is as it seems, she begins to unravel a sinister reality to the situation — and it puts her life at risk if she dares question it.

Let’s start with the leads. Harry Styles and Florence Pugh are of course a very good looking couple, but they also gel very well on screen. They share a good energy and for the most part it’s pleasant to watch. We’ll get into that later.

Florence Pugh definitely comes out of this as the star. She does a phenomenal job in this role and depicts every emotion you can imagine — happiness, love, confusion, fear and desperation. It’s her at her best.

Now we all know when we walk into a movie starring Harry Styles that we can’t be expecting acting brilliance and that certainly isn’t what we get here, but to give him credit he does well. There are moments where you can see through a performance by someone who isn’t trained to do it, but for the most part he plays the role well. Nothing special, nothing terrible. Without going into plot details, things do make sense later on — but this is a role that pretty much anyone else could have done.

The supporting cast are great too. Olivia Wilde stars in it herself and gets plenty of good moments, while Chris Pine does a fantastic job playing the mysterious yet captivating leader of the organisation behind it all. You feel his presence in every scene and you feel the discomfort.

In fact that’s what the film does really well — it makes you FEEL. You’re thrown into the shoes of a citizen of Victory, and you’re also made to feel every suspicion and every uncomfortable realisation that Alice feels.

A big part of this is the music. The background score by John Powell. It’s chilling and has you gripped to the screen. It creates a really spooky feel to the environment that goes hand in hand with what’s going on in the film, because there’s definitely some really dark and near scary moments in this that will have you tempted to look away.

It’s hard to get into the flaws of this film without spoiling it so I’m going to have to leave it vague and hope that you’re intrigued enough to see it for yourself and decide whether you agree with me or not.

Once we find out the truth about Victory and why the people are there, a lot of the logic and explanation is left wide open. There’s also a lot of events and consequences that are left unexplained. Whether this is done intentionally to make you think and have talking points when you leave is unknown — but I can usually feel when this is the case.

It didn’t feel like that here. If anything, it felt like the film had reached a saturation point of suspense and tip-toeing and then realised it needed to get to an end point, resulting in a fast forward climax that forgot to give us any clue or explanation to things that had been used to build suspense earlier.

See what I mean about vague? That’s as far as I can go without diving into spoilers I’m afraid. Go see it, come back here and see if you agree.

What I can say about the film is that it’s major flaw is the relationship it hinges its’ plot on. Yes we get details later in the film that explain certain things and add a bit of depth but the fact of the matter is that Florence Pugh holds it together while Harry Styles feels like a passenger, so you care more about Alice than you do about her marriage.

In the end, the film does what it says on the tin. It’s a quintessential psychological thriller that keeps you engaged with plenty of mystery and suspense until the very last moment, leaving you with plenty to think about and an ending that is open to interpretation.

It’s very much the Florence Pugh show, as she holds the film together and carries it on her shoulders while Harry Styles merely strives to keep up and is nothing more than a passenger and a spectator to an actress performing to the best of her ability.

It’s a fantastic watch if you’re looking to get your heart racing and your brain ticking, but a bit more attention to detail would have raised the bar much much higher.

“Don’t Worry Darling” is out now in cinemas only.

Rating: 7/10

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