Sunday, 2 July 2017

Jackie (2016) - Film Review


*Originally written January 20th, 2017*

"When something is written down, does that make it true?"

I'll be honest, I'm not entirely sure how I felt about Jackie. It's a strange beast of a film and a bit hard to get through, but it is thoroughly fascinating and features an amazing performance from Natalie Portman. It's also worth pointing out the release of this film in the UK was on Trump's inauguration day, which was either a strange coincidence or intentional.

A lot has been said about Natalie Portman's performance here as Jackie Kennedy following her week after her husband's assassination. As expected, she was great. While her accent was a little hard to get behind at first (I had no idea what Jackie Kennedy actually sounds like), she really captures that broken grief of suffering such a traumatic event and worrying about her husband's legacy in the process. Maybe it was just my hearing, but I did have a little trouble hearing what she was saying at times. Towards the end I thought she said "There won't be another Candyland".

Where Jackie also exceeds is its period design and costumes, this is a gorgeous film with a look I can't quite put my finger on. The aspect ratio was also a little jarring to me. There was some great use of historical footage mixed in with real scenes showing just how perfectly they captured some of these moments. As a fan of films with long vacant stares with close ups of characters, there was no shortage of this in Jackie. It didn't linger as much as say Refn, but it felt more interesting than your usual biopic.

While I was definitely interested to see Jackie for Natalie Portman's performance, I would be lying if I wasn't more interested in Mica Levi's score for this. This is only her second score, the first being the amazing Under the Skin, she's also from Guildford, where I'm from, which is cool. While not as strong as her Under the Skin score, I did love her score for Jackie, another hypnotic and beautiful orchestral soundtrack that elevated most of the scenes. I will say, while I loved what I was hearing, the music did feel out of place sometimes, making scenes feel really unsettling and foreboding rather than what I think they were going for. It might have tampered with some of the more emotional moments.

My biggest problem I found with Jackie was easily its editing. Like I said, this was a hard film to get through, it has no real sense of pace. The scenes are really short and it jumps around a lot, I just wish they lingered on some of these moments more. This really could have done with an extra 20 minutes or so. It all does feel very contained at least, it all takes place within a week or so, which was interesting. It's just a shame it didn't feel more coherent. It's not an abomniation of editing in the same way Suicide Squad was for example, but it was a bit messy and stopped a good film from being a great one.

Jackie was a very interesting and different biopic led by Portman's potentially Oscar winning performance, beautiful design and Mica Levi's gorgeous score.

7/10 Dans

Jackie is out now on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK
Watch the trailer below:
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