This 2014 film from Ana Lily Amirpour was categorized as a horror film by Netflix, though I’m not entirely convinced that it belong in that category. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is an Iranian film which combines elements of many types of traditional “western genres” while still having an overall feeling all its own. It’s a movie about a vampire, certainly, but at not point did I ever feel scared or like there was a large amount of suspense. Rather there are some elements of romance–the film’s protagonist falls in love with another youth of the city–as well as some styles typical to the American western film, and all presented through absolutely incredibly cinematography that would make the masters of the film noir era envious.
But despite all these stylistic influences, the film has a certain feel that is hard to describe. I hesitate to use the term “foreign” to describe it, but in some ways that’s exactly what it is. The pacing is completely unlike what traditional western films have taught me to expect, instead allowing scenes to linger for several additional seconds of agonizing silence. It’s certainly strange at first, but grew on me as the film continued.
The narrative itself is fairly straightforward, but not upon first glance. The story is presented by following several different characters, and only revealing the relations between them in small doses spaced throughout the film. However, as the film progresses, these relations become clearer, and so does the narrative as well. The strong visuals, combined with the masterful storytelling, including the cliché (but in a manner that I’m still okay with) ambiguous ending, leaves A Girl Walks Home Along at Night as easily one of the best films I have ever seen.
9/10, possibly even 10/10