Based on the novel by Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects (2018) explores sisterhood, self-harm, substance abuse, and small town toxicity with gritty performances, smooth cinematography, and thoughtful writing.

Performances by Amy Adams as the troubled and aloof Camille Preaker, a former Wind Gap queen bee turned Led-Zeppelin-blasting journalist who maintains a steady dose of vodka, and Patricia Clarkson as the well-to-do old-money heiress and overbearing mother Adora Preaker Crellin, are sizzling with tension and authenticity. The culture of Wind Gap is as deadly as the serial killer targeting the town’s lost young girls, a point made evident through the myriad ways it seeks to drag Camille back into her most painful memories.

The subjective cinematography effectively expresses the flickering nature of memories and their accompanying emotions through quick jump cuts triggered by an object or phrase, as true to life as the characters themselves. The moody coloration of Wind Gap, deadened by neglect and decades of hard living, contributes to an atmosphere thick with noxious duplicity.

With a shocking twist saved for the very end, the story exposes the complexities of what it is to be a woman in a small town and the festering rot of gender roles. Sharp Objects tackles dark subject matter with grim flair and will resonate in the minds of viewers long after the cut to black.

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