Medusa Deluxe Evaluate

Hair, it’s mentioned in Medusa Deluxe, is the “crown that you simply by no means take off”. But for one poor hapless hairdresser on this killer-coiffure-comedy, that’s exactly his destiny: murdered through the ugly act of scalping, taking the phrase “only a bit off the highest” barely too actually. It’s the catalyst for a surreal, fashionable, unusual and startlingly distinctive debut from writer-director Thomas Hardiman; amid the present glut of murder-mysteries on display screen, this can be a determinedly leftfield entry.

For one factor, it isn’t fairly a whodunnit within the conventional sense: there isn’t any Poirot-type detective on the case, and the query of who, in reality, truly dunnit shouldn’t be actually the motivating issue, the killer’s id telegraphed pretty on. It even opens in medias res, the homicide already within the rear-view mirror. As an alternative, the movie luxuriates in gossip and back-stabbery, the complicated character dynamics taking part in out like a heightened, glamorous, lethal cleaning soap opera.

For a low-budget British movie, that is an unusually bold, ostentatious and visually daring effort, leaning into the ‘deluxe’ of the title: pure style, no kitchen sinks in sight. Each body, proper from the Battle Membership-style opening sequence, is stuffed with aptitude and flamboyance. The camerawork, from prolific cinematographer Robbie Ryan (of Andrea Arnold and Ken Loach fame), is boldly staged as one lengthy take, recalling the maze-like single-location claustrophobia of Birdman, discovering eerie attract in probably the most mundane backstage dressing rooms. That ambition matches the vertiginous creations of the movie’s hair stylists (spectacular work from the movie’s precise hair designers, Scarlett O’Connell and Eugene Souleiman), the outlandish and vibrant creations — rainbow wigs, Georgian fontanges — solely including to the unreality of all of it.

How refreshing to see a British debut take a giant style swing, all whereas centring totally on working-class girls of color.

This can be a singular affair, and exists purely in its personal universe, that means its defiant response towards realism can take some adjustment at first. Hardiman’s script is made up of just about Tarantino-esque dialogue, all lengthy monologues, tall tales, and calmly profound gems. It’s persistently humorous too, if darkly witty moderately than laugh-out-loud, punctuated with stringently British references (the Little Chef off the A206 will get a shout-out) and not less than one filthy shampoo-based insult that deserves to enter the pantheon of superlative slurs.

Via all of it, we’re consistently given the droll reminder that this high-stakes life-or-death contest is, in reality, merely a regional hairdressing competitors; even small-fry showdowns can spark ruthless creative stress. In flip, the movie’s personal modest assets can generally really feel stretched — however how refreshing to see a British debut take a giant style swing, all whereas centring totally on working-class girls of color. Hair is “useless the minute it leaves the follicle”, notes Clare Perkins’ stylist Cleve, in a beautiful gothic commentary; Medusa Deluxe, in the meantime, is alive, and shiny, and filled with texture.

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