Earlier this week, the ALMA Observatory photographed “the first direct image of a black hole”. The picture glowingly pulsates if you stare at it for too long – it’s actually quite marvellous. What the ALMA Observatory may not know is that I had seen a star collapse the night before – a walking black hole, if you will, portrayed by Elisabeth Moss (The One I Love, Us).
Moss plays musician Becky Something in Her Smell, an erratic drama from filmmaker Alex Ross Perry (Listen Up Philip). Drunk on power and popularity, Becky is unhinged and scraping rock bottom when movie goers first meet her. As for every character surrounding Becky, her behaviour is expected and par for the course in the grand scheme of her career and their lives. Writer/director Perry draws his film into segments, the noteworthy moments in Becky’s final years as a pop culture icon as she works closely with an up-and-coming younger band. While primarily documenting Becky’s spiral into indulgent madness, these scenes belong to the supporting characters as they awaken from their enabling trance and realize just how unwell their friend is, and how associated fame is no longer an acceptable distraction from the wreckage in front of them.
Her Smell is a disorienting whirlwind that successfully pitches scary ideas about uncontrollable addictions. Led by a confident filmmaker and a cast of accomplished actors, this is a film that keeps audiences on-edge the entire time.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie