God’s Creatures (2023), Directors Saella Davis and Anna Rose Holmer, A24, 4.5****: Matthew Alicoon

God’s Creatures


Running Time: 101 Minutes

UK Release Date: Friday 31st March 2023

God’s Creatures takes place on the backdrop of a small Irish fishing village where Aileen’s (Emily Watson) estranged son Brian (Paul Mescal) resurfaces after an unexplained trip to Australia. As the film progresses the narrative has an intricate moral core, as Aileen is faced with the dilemma to lie for her son and divide the community or bail her son out to protect the community.

The film is a slow-burn character drama that resounds to a thought-provoking discussion on protecting individuals of a certain nature. God’s Creatures is a hard and challenging watch but for a film that is not afraid to raise dark topical themes, it has to be commended for the boldness of its heavy subject matter, as the script tackles the story with a grounded and authentic look to the archetypes and personas that consume these themes. The fierce performances are nailed, as Emily Watson masterfully portrays the multi-layered sides of the conundrum, as you could see a multitude of conflictions within her character on what to do in the circumstances. Paul Mescal gets the next ten films out of me, as the range he has demonstrated through Aftersun and this is quite phenomenal. When thinking about the emotionless and arguably neglected character he was portraying, it was a triumph, as there was a constant strong belief of this man feeling no heart and empathy towards anyone.

This is a film where the story could transcend into any location but the sweeping cinematic beauty of the film makes the Irish fishing village setting fully justified. Chayse Irvin utilised the land and the sea in a stunning and metaphorical way, as this enroots the film in an almost solitary confined tone. The night time shots are just seamless, as there is a standout shot of Brian (Paul Mescal) conducting oyster traps and there is a single handheld light being used by himself. The opening 3 minutes are a creme de la creme of cinematography.

The significant aspect of God’s Creatures is you can come away from the film with a handful of analytical thoughts and critical discussion topics which is where the film separates itself from previous A24 films such as The Whale, as The Whale is partially narrow minded on the performance whereas with God’s Creatures the focus is played onto the story which is complimented eloquently by the sympathetic lead performances and an astonishing visual aesthetic.

God’s Creatures is silent, eerie and picturesque featuring some of the best isolating silhouettes from a 2023 release. The film is entrancing and will leave you thinking a lot afterwards, as God’s Creatures presents the true manifestation of what a mother’s worst nightmare is.

God’s Creatures is a film that will sit with you and stay with you after you have seen it.

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