When I first heard about The Scary of the Sixty First I was intrigued about the premise and highlighted it as a must watch for 2021.
Living in Australia sometimes means that things slip through the cracks during the time of global release.
Thankfully though, the streaming platform has picked up the slack in some cases and TSOTSF has been released through their Exclusive and Original content.
Unfortunately the anticipation didn’t live up to my expectations.
I had heard comparisons to Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut and 1970s thrillers of which Roman Polanski was such a prominent figure in. These collations are far-reaching I fear, as these auteurs of the the celluloid craft are some of the greatest, and with all due respect to Director Dasha Nekrasova, this is her feature debut, and while their are elements of appeal to her final cut, there are flaws to her offering that can’t quite allow her to fall in with such pedigree.
The film setting takes place in the Upper East Side of Manhattan where two women, Noelle (Madeline Quinn) and Addie (Betsey Brown) move into an apartment with ominous ties to Jeffrey Epstein and his nefarious sex trafficking activities.
This subject alone is hard to connect with as a viewer and Nekrasova forces us to endure the provocation that such a subject carries with it. Always a hard subject to explore and pose thought around, and Nekrasova doesn’t shy away from tackling this and the trauma that surrounds it head on. It’s probably the reason she cast herself in the role of The Girl, who is investigating the issues around Epstein’s activities and the apartment in question.
The narrative then takes us through a cobweb of fractured moments surrounding the three women as they explore, investigate or come under the influence that the strange apartment block and a hidden energy that possesses them at various stages throughout the film.
By the journey’s end the murkiness lifts if but for a moment to try and tie up any loose ends, by this stage though, the wading through the mystification has been hard work and the audience is left feeling stagnant by the subject and the effort to shock or shake a response from us.
Dasha Nekrasova tackles a tough subject for her feature film debut before the lens.
There are moments that intrigue, but all too often the film struggles through disillusion and bewilderment, that forces us to disconnect with the material.
Yes, we should definitely keep Nekrasova’s name on your watch list, but for now this film gets lost in confusion and drowns in a topic that may be too tough to develop for a first time director, not that the subject should be ignored all together.
A bold attempt.
- Saul Muerte