|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating - Movie:|
|Genre:||Mystery, Horror, Drama|
|Direction:||Gerard Bush, Christopher Renz|
|Production country:||USA 2020|
|Running time:||Approx. 114 min.|
|Rated:||From 16 years|
|Number of discs:||1|
|Languages:||German, English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1)|
|Picture format:||16:9 (2,40:1) 1080p/24|
|Bonus:||Featurettes, interviews, cut scenes, trailers|
Movie: On a Louisiana cotton plantation, Eden (Janelle Monáe) and the many other slaves must endure day after day of humiliation, violence, and energy-sapping labor in the fields. Eden knows that if she wants to survive, she must escape the plantation.
A much better life is led in the present by bestselling author and activist Veronica Henley (Janelle Monáe). She has just finished a successful book tour and is about to return home to her husband and daughter when her life turns into an absolute nightmare. Eden and Veronica are inextricably linked - but how? And is there a way out of this nightmare?
"Antebellum", the feature debut of directing duo Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz, begins with absolute promise. The opening long tracking shot across the plantation is visually full of beauty, but dramaturgically, in stark contrast, full of cruelty, brutality and injustice. This sequence reveals very well the talent that lies dormant in the two directors, who also wrote the screenplay for the film. The film is able to maintain the quality of the beginning until the plot shifts to Veronica in the modern big city. Admittedly, the makers manage to include some very atmospheric moments of suspense here as well. Still, many scenes in this part of the film seem dragged out and not really essential to the story.
When the big twist is revealed, you inevitably feel reminded of another film (which one, of course, I won't say here, as that would give away a lot more than the trailer does anyway) - even if the intention there was quite different. But at its core, the idea is the same - and the logic problems that go along with it are the same, too. I can't go into detail about that either, of course, without giving too much away. This much, however, can be said: Good ambitions, a clever idea at its core and stylistic excellence make the film worth watching, but in the end it's unfortunately not enough to really leave a lasting impression.
And the story actually deserved that. It's safe to assume that "Antebellum" probably wouldn't have been made without the success of "Get Out", especially since central themes of both films are very similar after all. However, Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz do not succeed as convincingly as Jordan Peele in conveying these themes in a stirring story. There are some very strong moments, but in the end you unfortunately get the feeling that not all of the potential inherent in the basic idea has been tapped. Nevertheless, if you want to see an atmospheric mystery thriller with light horror elements and a strong message, you are absolutely right here, despite some criticisms.
Picture + Sound: The image of the Blu-ray convinces with a very high detail sharpness, a pleasant image depth and powerful colors. Pedro Luque's excellent camerawork is on perfect display here, even if the image does look a little artificial in some scenes. However, this can be seen in many digitally filmed movies and is not a specific weakness of this Blu-ray. The audio is present as a powerful DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, which not only highlights the rousing score by Nate Wonder and Roman GianArthur. Atmospheric ambient sounds also make for a well-executed soundscape here. Very good!
Extras: The Blu-ray has plenty of extras to offer. However, it must be said that you should be proficient in English to enjoy these, as no subtitle options are offered with the bonus material. The centerpiece of the extras is the two-part making of documentary "The History in Front of us" (approx. 67 min. combined). In it, the themes of the film and the production are discussed in detail and also analyzed. A very interesting documentary, which reveals the intentions of the filmmakers almost better than the film itself.
Also very worth watching is a short documentary about the opening sequence (approx. 4:45 min.). If you want to know at which points the big twist was hinted at early in the film, you can check out the featurette "A Hint of Horror" (approx. 6:12 min.). Furthermore, there are interviews with Janelle Monáe (approx. 7:50 min.) as well as the two directors (approx. 7:55 min.), trailers and some cut scenes (approx. 7:59 min.) to watch. A really good bonus package that was put together here.
Conclusion: The idea underlying "Antebellum" is interesting and holds a lot of potential for a gripping (horror) thriller. The realization is especially at the beginning first-class craftsmanship, but reveals towards the end too many logic holes to really convince. Despite minor weaknesses, the film is well worth watching for its stylistic strengths alone. Technically, the Blu-ray is absolutely convincing and the only disappointing thing about the bonus material is the lack of subtitles. All in all, there is for this disc a clear: Recommendable!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp