Absolutely paralleled by the soundtrack and Jordan’s vision, the entertainment value is there, just not as the complete package
Linking an idea to a vision is not always the easiest of tasks, and that often becomes even more difficult when the initial creation is made by someone other than the director. Though Neil Jordan worked on the script with Ray Wright, there does seem to be a disparage between what Greta needed to become, and what it is. Missing a grand final message, the film ultimately becomes an empty thriller, only offering momentary entertainment rather than a lasting impression. Whether it impacts at the time or not, Greta’s missing message inhibits its final output exponentially.
Small town waitress Frances (Chloe Grace Moretz) moves to New York in a surprise move, both shocking and pleasing her best friend Erica (Maika Monroe). But with her community mentality, Frances is drawn to returning a lady’s handbag she finds abandoned on the train. After tracking down her address, she finds Greta (Isabelle Huppert), a retired French woman living in Manhattan. The pair, both looking for companionship, strike up an unlikely relationship; a relationship that quickly evolves into one of obsession and fear.
More than anything, Greta is pure silliness. Not the kind associated with whoopee cushions or tickling, but the unrealistic nature of a story that lacks substance. It’s a superficial story with moments of fun, but nothing it says or does offers anything more than what can be seen. Greta is an empty film, even if it offers some initial positive ideas. It feels as if it were the translation of an old fable, losing its meaning, gaining the visuals.
Huppert and Moretz promote positive performances, but with meaning missing from the script, there is only so much they can offer. Absolutely paralleled by the soundtrack and Jordan’s vision, the entertainment value is there, just not as the complete package Greta initially seemed. Suggesting it isn’t the sum of its parts feels a little harsh, but is ultimately the impact that it has.
Too often does the feature miss it’s opportunity to delve into what it is truly about, and why the story exists. Denying itself the ability to grow, instead protecting itself from ambiguity and interpretation. There is very little on show to either relate to, or take against, and that makes Greta feel particularly safe. There needed to be a move, or a feeling that elevated Greta to the next stage, but by failing to add that into its mix, the film doesn’t become the feature it initially promised it could be.
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