I’ve been sitting on this film for almost a day now, trying to figure out what to write about it. My mental list just has the words KENDRICK, LIVELY, COSTUMES and DIABOLIQUE scribbled in earnest, and I must say, I loved so much of it. So much of it, in fact, that I fear this review will transform into a mess of stanning and squeeing. With that in mind, perhaps I’ll merely highlight the weaker aspects. The biggest one is the haphazardness of the final climax, where the film’s disparate tones are not managed with nearly as much dexterity as the first two-thirds. The reason being is that the amount of exposition is unwieldy, and trotted out in confusing sets of interactions and confrontations that could have been synthesized more cleanly. Another thing that didn’t work as well as I would’ve liked was Samantha’s amateur sleuthing. It slows the film down and adds backstories that aren’t expanded upon to any great extent. Plus, when you utilize an investigation model to color your story, normally you would need a compelling mystery to guide it. When the mystery’s solution is not only obvious, but revealed midway through, the imperative is lost and you’re left with dead weight until a new twist appears. So some of the film’s middle is flimsy in that respect.
As a black comedy, this is fantastic. Kendrick is able to channel her chipper personality into something dark and complex as the film goes on, while Lively revels in a role that is scathingly bitchy. Henry Golding also proves that his acting career isn’t ending anytime soon. All three make the most of their lines and add so much zest to the proceedings that this pulpy nonsense goes down easier than a gin martini. And by God do they look fabulous while doing it.