The Stranger (2022)

Where I Watched It: Netflix

English Audio Description Provided By: International Digital Center

Written By: Betty Capone

One thing is for sure. Joel Edgerton is starring in some films flying way under the radar this year. Between this and 13 Lives are films that look on the surface like they could potentially net him an Oscar nomination, but neither actually will. Especially this Australian import that might be the most disjointed film I’ve seen this year.

To be fair, I’ve seen some critics say they really found the constant scene changes and lack of continuity appealing. For me, it felt like I was watching a film assembled just for the sake of artistic interpretation. Almost like there was a cleaner version of the film and they chopped the scenes up so it could jump back and forth through time, trying to pull off a magic trick of making you not aware of where the movie is. Even the title is incredibly vague, suggesting nothing really about the film. It keeps you in this state of unknowing that some truly might enjoy, but others will just find confusing.

The movie takes different paths, telling the story of two men who meet and are technically “strangers”. Then, there’s also a murder being investigated. And while that all is happening, we do flash back in time to various points in the past to help reinforce the backstory of our strangers on a plane, or later strangers in a car. This level of confusion and unease even pushes the film into a question of what genre is it? Is it a mystery? A thriller? A horror? I’ll admit there was an annoying jump scare that was totally unnecessary considering all that I now know. I had my volume turned up because this film was mostly quiet, and honestly I’m navigating Australian accents. So when a sudden scream occurs, in a scene where it was rather unwarranted, it only got a rise out of me because I was louder than I usually run a film.

I really did not like this film. I can’t fault the actors, the acting is fine. But it’s just so disjointed, that it loses the narrative, and when it finally gets to what should have been an impactful ending with actors giving 110%, I just didn’t have any connection. We had switched gears so many times, I no longer cared. The film felt like it took forever, and trying to piece together the thought process behind the choices in this film was exhausting.

I’m admittedly in the minority on this, but I wouldn’t recommend. the audio description is fine, I didn’t have any problems there, but I thought this was a mess.

Final Grade: D+

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