Review: Pelican Blood (2019 Fantastic Fest)

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Title: Pelican Blood
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: Katrin Gebbe
Starring: Nina Hoss, Yana Marinova, Murathan Muslu
Runtime: 2 hrs 1 min

What It Is: Wiebke (Hoss) is a trainer of horses for the police department. She’s also a single mother of a young girl. When a severely traumatized little girl enters her life she believes that she can train and nurture this child, in a similar way to what she does with horses. When she begins to realize what level of attention and attentiveness is needed she’ll have to take a few odd and somewhat deranged steps.

What We Think: I did not know what to think here. Everything happening was just…weird. It’s a well-executed film (thanks to Gebbe’s brilliant direction) and as the story unfolds there’s a giant void in the story. The why. Sure it’s established Wiebke is maternal and cares for this troubled child but at what point do you give up? That part of the narrative slightly irked me. Otherwise, the film is fairly good. It’s just over two hours but feels a helluva lot longer. Nina Hoss is a dynamo and makes Wiebke different types a protagonist all at once. I think certain people will look at her differently depending on the person themselves.

Our Grade: C+, A little too deliberate in it’s pacing for my taste and that one narrative issue knocks this down a bit. Solid acting is flawed by a too-long script. Overall this one is very well directed.  Insofar as the elements are normally seen at the festival we saw this at those elements are so subtle. I think often genre films try to shoehorn in whatever weird crap they can to fit the genre. Gebbe takes a trimmer more focused approach. I wish she’d done the same thing to the actual script.

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