Pearl is a film which has a 1940s look to the picture, but is set in 1918 where the titular character, portrayed by Mia Goth (The Survivalist), lives on a farm and declares, “The day the world will know my name”.
World War I is over, but her husband, Howard (Alistair Sewell) hasn’t yet come home. In lieu of hubby, she fancies the local cinema projectionist (David Corenswet), and it’s clearly mutual, with the gentleman even cutting off a frame from her favourite film for her.
Pearl dreams of leaving home to become a Tiller girl, dancing around the world and becoming famous. Can she escape from her small town life? Either way, there’s a bizarre scene when she’s dancing with a scarecrow…
It also has a number of weird moments, such as when she takes a bath, with her catatonic, wheelchair-bound Dad (Matthew Sunderland – The Luminaries) watching her.
Also in her life is her best friend, Mitsy (Emma Jenkins-Purro), who’s also aiming to become a world-famous dancer, as well as Pearl’s mother, Ruth (Tandi Wright), a very nasty individual, but with Pearl being as psychotic as your ex, I was expecting a really gory horror movie.
Unfortunately, it’s a murder thriller with not many murders, nor thrills. In fact, throughout the 102 minutes, despite being led to believe, I only counted FOUR murders in the whole film! What a gyp!
Late on, there’s also an incredibly monotonous monologue from Mia Goth to another character, who I won’t reveal. However, since the film was droning on, and now she was, too, I kept zoning out. I saw it’s already out on 4K Blu-ray in the US, and had another look at it, and I see that monologue includes a section where the camera’s solely on Pearl for six minutes… but it feels like sixty.
As an aside, I didn’t realise it was connected with last year’s film, X, which I haven’t seen, and there’s a final film due to complete this apparent trilogy, the last entry being called MaXXXine, one of Ms Goth’s characters from the aforementioned mono-lettered movie. At least, for the studio, these films are low-budget, only costing $1m each to make.
Overall, Pearl is like the first 10 minutes of a film, dragged out to 100+ minutes, and then crossed with Acorn Antiques. Try and get your head round that…
Running time: 102 minutes
Release date: March 17th 2023
Cinema: Cineworld Didsbury
Director: Ti West
Producers: Jacob Jaffke, Harrison Kreiss, Kevin Turen, Ti West
Screenplay: Ti West, Mia Goth
Characters: Ti West
Music: Tyler Bates, Tim Williams
Pearl: Mia Goth
Projectionist: David Corenswet
Ruth: Tandi Wright
Father: Matthew Sunderland
Mitsy: Emma Jenkins-Purro
Howard: Alistair Sewell
Margaret: Amelia Reid-Meredith
Woman: Gabe McDonnell
Pianist: Lauren May Stewart
Director: Todd Rippon
Ticket Taker: Grace Acheson
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.