A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT shows, beyond its skill, that we likely have some neat surprises in store down the line from Ana Lili Amirpour, the assured young director-writer of this indie favorite. Iranian-American, she started making movies when she was twelve, has been collecting notice and prizes in the interim, and in this surprisingly effective feature debut she’s hit her stride, ready to join the fray with a larger audience.
Marketed at a deliberate pace since debut at Sundance in early 2014, it’s an audacious mix of style, genre influences and attitude. A vampire movie. Set in Iran. Filmed in Taft,California, near Bakersfield. Iranian-American cast, speaking in Farsi with subtitles. Black & white. Touches of film noir, westerns, social comment, romance, punk, feminist empowerment—fused into a wholly new and different take on a beat-to-death ( undead death? ) platform–the constantly tapped vampire vein of the horror genre. Near-universal critical rhapsody pretty much deserved, it’s an instant cult item.
Bad City, Iran. Not a happy place. A lone woman walks (glides) around the desolate streets, dispensing a form of justice while slaking her thirst.
Beautifully photographed (Lyle Vincent), abetted with a very effective sound mix, and acted without flaw by Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Dominic Rains, Mozhan Marno, Marshall Manesh, Rome Shadanloo.
At 101 minutes, it maybe could have dropped ten, since it’s a slow-paced trip, and shed a few bits that look interesting but aren’t tied in clearly (audience-must-guess time), but overall it holds you in its spell. More in the, uh–vein–of Let Me In/Let The Right One In with its melancholy, rather than the flashily empty teen-angst of the Twilight tales.