A2P Cinema 100 Films of the Aughts
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THE SHAPE OF THINGS
2003 - Neil Labute - United States / France / United Kingdom
79

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I have seen The Shape of Things several times and it remains as emotionally effective with each viewing, but nothing quite like seeing it for the first time and knowing nothing about it (so for those who have not seen the film, may not want to read any further)… Directed by Neil LaBute, this works like a double-billing with his 1997 film In the Company of Men. Both are equally insightful and powerful and are completely focused on character through dialogue and performances. The difference between the two is the sex, as The Shape of Things is like the female answer to In the Company of Men. Both films are incredibly powerful in way that is both disturbing and terrifying. Cruel films that leave an unforgettable impact. What most amazing is that they do not contain any direct violence, suspense, or horror, The Shape of Things is a film that haunts the inner emotions of the human soul and the result is a sad and disturbing yet unforgettable film experience. LaBute's minimal style (transitions of scenes begin with music and a camera pan) is incredibly effective because he strips the film down to dialogue and performances which makes the overall emotional involvement connect and a deeper and more intimate level. Like Aaron Eckhart's In the Company of Men performance, Rachel Weisz is absolutely brilliant here as the heartless art student who's motives are strictly a form of her own artistic expression. The film leaves much to think about in terms of art, and human relationships and morality. The Shape of Things is an emotionally unsettling yet interesting and thought-provoking experience that certainly leaves its mark through the most simplistic of cinematic techniques.
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