Title: Poor Agnes

Also known as:
N/A

Year: 2017

Genre: Crime / Thriller / Horror

Language: English

Runtime: 95 min

Director: Navin Ramaswaran

Writer: James Gordon Ross

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5675828/


Plot:
Agnes is a serial killer and in an attempt to solve a man's disappearance, a private detective comes to visit her. The two of them hit it off and end up having sex in the kitchen. Afterwards, Agnes pulls out her shotgun and takes him hostage...

Our thoughts:
We originally got curious about "Poor Agnes" when it played Fantasia earlier this year where it won Best Canadian Feature Film, but we never got around to check it out then. With this movie, Director Navin Ramaswaran and writer James Gordon Ross have successfully taken certain tropes and bent them just enough to catch you off guard. In what is otherwise a rather unsurprising plot, it's in the smaller decisions taken by the director, the cast, the writer, that we find why this movie stands out.

The movie starts off with our lead, Agnes, revealing a dead body in her freezer for us. It's established pretty quickly who we're dealing with her, and it doesn't take long before we're part of her killings as well. When a private detective is trying to solve the case of a missing person, he ends up with Agnes as a suspect. He drives to her secluded house to have a little chat, but that chat soon turns into sex. Of course, Agnes is just playing her little games, and the private detective is soon staring down the barrel of a shotgun. She keeps him as her little pet, or servant, and he seems to slowly accept that reality.

There is something very interesting about "Poor Agnes". We're given something familiar, but its execution is incredibly off-kilter. At times I don't even know what it is that is weird, it just is. It's no secret that I am attracted to things that are slightly off or eccentric in art; it doesn't matter if that's a painting or a romantic comedy. "Poor Agnes" doesn't stray too far off from the beaten path in terms of story, and perhaps that's good! It gives it a chance to highlight the details. The biggest "detail" that stood out is how Lora Burke portrays Agnes. She's not your typical psychopath and I can't quite put my finger on it. The character is almost played as if the audience is part of his sick games too. It's like we're given a constant smirk, to confirm that this is all just fun for her. Because of this, the movie is always balancing between disturbing and humorous, and never quite reaching either of them. It's up to you if that's a good thing or not, but for me it was slightly distracting, yet it's the thing that I keep thinking about. I actually think that's an intentional strength with the movie!

One of my actual flaws with the movie contradicts my previous paragraph. While the odd acting by Lora Burke worked wonders for the movie, I actually didn't like how Robert Notman plays the private detective under captivity. Similar to Agnes, the character has a confidence to him. That worked well when he was just there to interview her, but once he is kidnapped by her it felt like he just wasn't comfortable playing the role he was playing. It's part of why the movie never felt quite as intense as it probably could have, because I didn't feel like Mike himself was that bothered by it. Yes, I know, further into the movie he ISN'T that bothered by it, but I am certain that he was supposed to be in the beginning. Unlike with how Lora Burke plays Agnes, I don't feel like this was integral to making the movie work. Personally it dragged down the experience slightly, but not enough to make it a bad movie at all!

"Poor Agnes" is not that long of a movie, but it feels like it. That's not necessarily a bad thing. There isn't that much going on at times, but the interaction between Agnes and Mike (especially with the kooky Agnes) makes the quieter moments work too. It's part of the charm to have Agnes mess around with Mike for such a long time, and because of that it doesn't feel unrealistic when we see Mike slowly come to trust and admire Agnes.

If you go into "Poor Agnes" expecting a violent torture movie, or a serial killer's rampage, then you'll be disappointed. If you want to see a very disturbed woman going from every end of the spectrum of emotions, while having a man kidnapped, then check it out. It's hard to explain what makes the movie interesting because most of it, to me, is in Lora Burke's acting. You can't mess with Agnes, but she sure as hell will mess with you! I could spoil the entire movie for you, and you still wouldn't really know. Now, there are flaws in the movie still and I tried to highlight my biggest issue, but in the end it's a worthy watch. Not being able to articulate why I appreciate the movie is also why I find it to be one of the more interesting crime/thrillers as of late.


Positive things:
- Lora Burke's manic portrayal!
- I didn't mention it in the review, but I dug the location of the house!
- Familiar idea with off-kilter execution.
Negative things:
- I found Robert Notman's acting to be a bit weak at times.

Rating:
Gore: 0.5/5
Nudity: 0.5/5
Story: 3/5
Effects: 3/5
Comedy: 2/5

We got this movie from:
PoorAgnes.com

It can be bought from:
N/A

Reviewed by:
Ronny




 

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