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Greta – Movie Review

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Greta – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Universal Pictures

The trashy thriller is a genre with a lot of potential to take wild plots and create just the right amount of tension. Greta knows exactly what it is and director Neil Jordan isn’t afraid to go down certain story paths, but he also subverts a few tropes, too. The film also works as a showcase for its two lead actors, with both Chloe Grace Moretz and Isabelle Huppert elevating the material. The screenplay manages to be mostly unpredictable in where it takes their characters and Jordan includes a fair number of shocker moments sure to get the proper reaction from many an audience member.

Moretz has proven herself to be one of today’s best young actors and part of why Greta succeeds is because she properly conveys the fear her waitress Frances feels, when she starts being stalked by a lonely older woman. The film is also genre savvy enough to have Frances avoid some of the same mistakes common for such characters in movies and we see her take every possible precaution. Huppert relishes in playing this slightly deranged woman that we grow to hate over the course of the film. She brings such an unsettling feeling to the role, that the dramatic music cue that plays whenever she appears feels just right. Jordan develops quite a few tense scenes that do feel earned.

While it’s mostly Moretz and Huppert going toe-to-toe, Maika Monroe’s performance as Frances’s roommate also deserves mention. The film rather brilliantly subverts how this sort of character is usually written and Monroe sells it. The way Jordan plays with our expectations allows him to then up the tension in certain scenes. Greta ends up being an imposing figure, frequently lurking in the shadows and this requires the characters to use their smarts as much as possible. Jordan also knows how to use location really well, whether it’s the restaurant Frances works in or the streets of New York City or the subway trains.

Things get especially wild in the third act and while Jordan overdoes it in a few aspects, the shocking moments do earn their gasps. Greta forces us to think back to earlier scenes, but a lot of the time, Jordan allows Moretz and Huppert to do the heavy lifting. The movie seems to recognise its own absurdity and that adds another layer to their performances. There are also enough little touches in how Greta is written, that Huppert is given plenty to work with. The movie doesn’t skimp on the violence and horrors of the situation, either.

Greta revels in shocking the audience, but never in a way that’s doing it in a way just for the sake of being shocking. Neil Jordan grips the viewer with the right amount of suspense and terror by understanding the genre he’s partaking in and trying to avoid the common tropes used. The way he cleverly subverts them is rather admirable. However, the real stars are Chloe Grace Moretz and Isabelle Huppert, who carry the film with their winning performances. Moretz is appropriately sympathetic, while one never knows quite when Huppert is going to burst. Greta will certainly make one think differently upon seeing a forgotten item on the subway.

Stefan Ellison

Stefan Ellison