Promising Young Woman is one hell of a directorial debut for Emerald Fennell. The film is sleek, vibrant, and some amazing musical cues (Anthony Willis’ cover of Britney Spears Toxic is a creepy spine tingling rendition.) The film stylistically is reminiscent of Nicholas Winding Refn’s Drive. The film stars Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Laverne Cox, and Connie Britton. It tells the story of a woman who seeks to avenge her best friend who was a victim of rape.
It’s a timeless story that sadly still happens today on most college campuses. Some good ol’ boys get a girl drunk, have their way with her and film it. Destroying the reputation of the Promising Young Woman in the process. Meanwhile, the boys get the get out of jail free card and the girl is never the same.
Enter Cassie (Mulligan) who hatches a revenge scheme to take out not just rapists but also the people who refused to believe or acknowledge her friend’s cry for justice. Cassie conducts a series of heinous mind f#%ks, messing with the heads of the deniers surrounding the innocent. When Cassie finally finds some hard evidence that ties the rapists to her friend’s murder, she hatches one final scheme against the main perpetrator she’s been online stalking.
Now up to the final act of the film, Promising Young Woman is a very engaging, thriller with dark comedic elements. However, a lot of people having major issues with what happens with Cassie. I completely understand the anger and disbelief with the scene. Cassie goes from being portrayed as a brilliant strategist against these perpetrators to doing something that seems so rash and out of character that it costs her her life.
Now I wasn’t expecting Cassie to go all Kill Bill in the final act. I mean as cool as that would have been to see it would have also taken me completely out of the movie. But how she dies…well after all the build up to the final act she kind of goes out like a chump. In fact if you didn’t see the ending coming from a mile away you would think “damn, this movie is going to end on a really dark note.” Ultimately, it does, for the rapists that is. I don’t want to spoil the entire ending but despite our protagonist getting killed off, the antagonists get what they deserve.
As I said a lot of people did not like this ending and some are even turning on the film for its shocking third act. I however maintain that that’s just real life. I mean, Cassie’s final scheme was indeed flawed but a case can be made that she was so fed up with dealing with these rapists that she got tunnel visioned and failed to iron every detail like she did previously throughout the film.
Still, I enjoyed the stylish and hip way it was shot and Mulligan is an amazing actress. With that said, HipsterZOMBIEJoint Experience say you should DEVOUR Promising Young Woman which is streaming now on VOD.