The Love Witch review by Adrijan Arsovski - Cinema Paradiso
What do you do when you have all the creativity in the world, but none of the money? Well, you make a parody of course. But not only that: you make a meta-parody set in a time period where cheap-looking (for today’s standards) films were the norm. Thus, you kill three birds with one stone: you manage to pour your heart and soul into the project without it looking decadent (in the technical sense) and cheap; you leave yourself enough room to tell a story without the constraints of “contemporary” film conventions (lens flare, CGI, the over-reliance on close-ups ad nauseum, etc.); and finally, you give a perfect homage to the classics of an era long-gone – therefore making something that could be only described as a cult classic in the making.
For those of you following me on a regular basis (thanks mum), you already know my three main criteria of rating a film: competence (technical aspects), creativity (the way of telling a story), and narrative (the story itself). Let’s start with the easiest one, i.e. competence. The Love Witch is cleverly disguised as a pastiche (or homage, call it whatever you like) of 70s exploitation films, which often involved a man’s desire for female nakedness and a reciprocal love (and by reciprocal, I mean totally one-sided), over-the-top dramatization of seemingly banal events (such as making breakfast in bed), convoluted plotlines (he’s his own daughter), and some fake-looking murders thrown in there for good measure. In this light, The Love Witch manages to check all the boxes and more; in fact, this film manages to pull off what others failed to do: to channel an exploitation era (in both cinema and real life terms, another notable example includes the hilariously smart ‘Black Dynamite’) back in full force and show that yes, creativity is not dead. But I digress.
The cinematography, starting from the colors, sets, lightning, all the way to the sound mixing and film score, are all nailed perfectly and at time I couldn’t tell that I was watching a 2016 film that looked like an early 70s exploitation experiment in cinema. Then, creativity.
Yes, The Love With is creative beyond measure; the film plays with film conventions like it’s no one’s business, and overthrows several of these so-called “rules” so that it can bring gags in their place instead. This is all helped by the deadpan line delivery of the acting crew (who by the way, all did a superb job of capturing that essence) and the hilarious screenplay which is the best one I’ve personally seen in years.
Finally, the story itself. Which is quite good I might add. All you need to know before going into this cult masterpiece is that the narrative involves a suspected feminist witch who just wants… love. Not suitable for children, but then again – who the hell cares?