Cold Rock, U.S.A. Children have gone missing over the years leaving neither a clue nor a witness. Superstitious locals talk of The Tall Man, a legendary, mysterious dark figure who takes children away never to be seen again.
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A fairy tale/campfire story only in veneer, but this faux-disassociation from reality furthers that it's maybe the best example of agit-prop progressiveness of this decade, a thoughtful deconstruction of capitalist social-economic divisions and our creation of ever-illusive enemies (communism, the poor, etc.) personified by The Tall Man to sweep our 3rd-world problems under the patchwork flag of the American Dream.
Three years ago, if you had told me Pascal Laugier was going to follow up "Martyrs" - an undeniably shocking and brutal horror film - with a movie that felt like a Monster of the Week episode of "The X-Files" crossed with a late 90's survival-horror video game...I would have never believed you. The ending of "Martyrs" felt like a revelation; the conclusion here is merely preposterous. I have to admit disappointment.
Tight and focused execution on Laugier's part but ultimately "The Tall Man" is not as great as the story and the director's reputation would lead you to believe. The fact that it is not a horror film sits very well, as it was refreshing for it to develop more into a gritty drama that puts many truths about America (and the Western world) on display. Interesting, but not fantastic. Jessica Biel was surprisingly good.
An interesting fairy tale. Laugier's leit-motifs (e.g. deranged women, innocent children abused by grown ups, underground spaces as metaphors for the subconscious), not forgetting his stylistic trademarks (e.g. plot twists) are not amiss. After "Martyrs", I was expecting another gore fest, but Jessica Biell's role as star/ producer likely forced Laugier to tame his sick imagination. The real horror? White trash.
What started out as cheap Netflix Instant horror fodder ended up a fairly incendiary if flawed sociological experiment. Better than expected, and a nice turn from the ineffectively weathered beauty Biel.
A huge disappointment after the power and originality of Laugier's MARTYRS. The film moves at a snail-like pace and the plot is far too implausible and muddled to get an audience caring. Moreover, there is something deeply unsettling about the politics of the film, which essentially sees poverty as incurable and the only way to save children of poor families is to steal them away to the middle classes.
Marketed as horror, but really a thriller. Is Laugier's hallmark to employ a dramatic shift in tone that brings the viewer out of a horror film and into a very different one? Subverting audience expectations could be a really powerful tool if expertly employed. However, Tall Man and Martyrs' bigger ideas are tenuously held together. A poorly thought-out comment on classism, ethics of third world adoption, &tc.