A young man on his bike adopts a James Dean pose. A woman undulates to music, applies make-up, puts on a hijab. A balloon seller does a complicated dance with her wares. A junkie tries going cold turkey alone in his room. A skeleton and her friend buy ecstasy from Dracula at a party. A vampire skateboards down a deserted road at night.
I’m sure there will be critics who’ll see this as a parable for women’s rights in Iran or some other social criticism. It’s not like this could not have been Amirpour’s intention—The Girl is like an avenging Santa, biting the necks of the naughty, sparing the nice—just that there are ways to enjoy this most beautiful and bizarre of films that don’t involve “reality” or even “Iran”. For a first-time director, Amirpour has exceptional control; there’s something Jim Jarmusch-like in the fever dream quality of her visuals and the eerie poetry she brings to the simplest of scenes. She’s helped immeasurably in this by Lyle Vincent’s black and white cinematography, the eclectic soundtrack that ranges from Farsi pop to imitation Ennio Morricone, and the performances of Arash Marandi as Arash and Vand as The Girl.
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is as exciting a debut as any in the past few years. Amirpour’s next feature has been announced: a post-apocalyptic cannibal romance with Keanu Reeves and Jim Carrey. Keep an eye out for this one.
This review appeared in Mint.