Girl No: Our Review of ‘Girl’

Girl No: Our Review of ‘Girl’

Chad Faust’s Girl shows what it’s like to make and release a grindhouse film, but it’s less fun for two reasons. First, watching it at home alone doesn’t have the same effect as watching it with midnight audiences. Second, because it tries to be a neo-noir film but with less style. This film, by the way, is about the titular Girl (Bella Thorne). Which, why call her girl when there’s a hundred girl names out there? Anyway, the Girl goes to a small town to find her father (John Clifford Talbot).

The Girl’s Daddy allegedly abused both her and her mother. And she took the train all the way to the small town where she used to live so she could kill him. Too bad someone already did it for her. His death brings complex feelings back to her, since he was the one who taught her things like how to throw an axe. She tells all of this to stranger like some Charmer (Faust) she meets at the laundromat. That’s until she somehow discovers that that Charmer killed her Daddy.

There’s also a Sheriff (Mickey Rourke) who is in cahoots with the Charmer. And they’re both accusing her of stashing her Daddy’s money. The only version of her Daddy that the Girl remembers is a broke one, but she finally relents and tells them a fake location. Listen, I am not an expert on criminal psychology. However, I can assume that good criminals know whether or not they’re barking up the wrong tree. There’s a possibility that she might know where this money is. But it’s more likely that the person who just came into town doesn’t.

A woman, Betty (Lanette Ware), prominently features in the film to provide some soap opera level exposition. Apparently, her Daddy wasn’t such a bad guy and that the money exists and that the Charmer and the Sheriff are her uncles. None of this exposition, by the way, feels like it comes from an organic conversation. What makes the lack of naturalism stand out is how Thorne is trying and failing to speak in a Southern accent. Not everyone in the South speaks like that, anyway.

Thorne is better during the silent scenes anyway, when she’s walking or fighting or digging up the money that exists. The fight scenes are too chaotic to be watchable and the final showdown falls short. The promotional scenes showing the fights are better than the soupy cinematography that’s in this film. And one thing about this money is that it looks enough for her to start a new life, or at least that’s the presumption anyway. But the presence of that money is a reminder of the film’s bad world building. Putting protagonists through unexciting plot points and contrivances do not a neo noir make.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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