Another mark in the “win” column, Bradford Young. You really are one of the best DPs in the business right now. You understand the stories you’re hired to tell with your visual acumen. You have an intuitive ability to elevate them in a way that speaks to their purpose, while channelling that purpose to us by your lighting and framing. Your work is so exciting that I can’t believe you haven’t been hired to do more. That CV of yours has no business being so scant, especially with the level of work you show in Where Is Kyra? The way you plunge Michelle Pfeiffer in claustrophobic darkness, and manipulate light to visually represent the dire straits she’s in, makes the film more powerful than it already is. The way you compose that final shot of her face in glass, on the verge of disappearing forever, is a shot that will be hard to shake off, because of how viscerally it represents the invisibility of those below the poverty line. This, and all the other detailing you put into this project, makes me wish that you will catch another big break like Arrival. More films need the kind of vision you possess.
As for the film itself, it’s a very brutal takedown of socioeconomic inequality and ageism, and how capitalist systems of power force otherwise upright citizens to take risks they otherwise wouldn’t have to. The particular risk in this case is a little on the silly side, if we’re being honest. Being forced to cash cheques in old lady getup is the kind of thing you’d see in movies more so than in real life. But it’s still a sad state of affairs, and just like in real life, the sadness becomes a downward spiral that is impossible to reverse. You dearly wish that Kyra’s fortunes would improve, and Pfeiffer is a master at depicting a woman losing control while grasping at any and all lifelines. I’ll admit it’s weird seeing her glamorous face in such unglamorous surroundings, but puts a tremendous amount of effort in her transformation, and the payoff is, well, tremendous. I’m all here for more Pfeiffer resurgence.