Monday, June 17, 2024

“Medusa Deluxe”…A Blend of Intrigue and Charm

Anita-Joy Uwajeh as Timba Photos Courtesy of A24

Where to Watch: In theaters and on demand

Release Date: August 11

Runtime: 1h 41m

Rated: R

Starring: Clare Perkins, Anita-Joy Uwajeh, Kae Alexander, Harriet Webb, Darrell D’Silva, Luke Pasqualino, and Heider Ali.

Synopsis: A group of skilled, driven, and scheming hairstylists convene in England for a prestigious competition, only to be met with the shocking discovery that one of their colleagues has been brutally murdered just before the judging begins.

As a fan of the whodunnit genre, I’m always on the lookout for films that not only challenge my detective skills but also interest me with compelling characters and unexpected narratives. Medusa Deluxe (originally showcased at the Locarno Festival in August 2022 then later released in the UK just this past June) is a British murder mystery that emerges as a refreshing and ingenious addition to the genre, offering a unique twist that sets it apart from other films of the genre. As I watched, I found myself invested in not only the murderer’s identity but also in the relationships and backstories that enveloped the characters.

One of the film’s achievements lies in its ability to create a cast of characters who are not just suspects but individuals with charm and complexity. While I, like any dedicated armchair detective, tried to deduce the murderer’s motives, I was consistently drawn into the personal histories and interactions that unfolded on screen. It’s rare for a film to balance suspense and character depth, and Medusa Deluxe accomplishes this with flair.

Clare Perkins as Cleve Photos Courtesy of A24

What sets this film apart is its balance of humor and drama. This tonal duality infuses the story with a dynamic energy that never wanes, keeping audiences thoroughly engaged from start to finish. The film’s pacing is masterful, ensuring that each revelation and twist is perfectly timed in order to hold the audience’s interest.

One of my favorite characters who had me both amused and intrigued was Cleve, portrayed by Clare Perkins. Perkins’ portrayal of the assertive, hot-headed hairstylist was a true highlight, infusing the film with a delicious mix of intensity and humor. The character was ready to take on any challenger, regardless of size, gender, etc. Plus, she was serious about her craft and determined to win the competition by any means necessary.  

Cinematographically, Medusa Deluxe is a triumph. The camera’s graceful movements around the characters’ interactions engulfed me into their world, creating an immersive experience that made me feel like a fly on the wall in the best way possible. The innovative choice to seamlessly transition from one scene to the next, with the camera accompanying characters from one setting to another, was brilliant. This technique not only enhanced the flow of the narrative but also underscored the director’s attention to detail in propelling the story forward. While this approach is a positive in my book, the lag time in between scenes may be a bit too long for other viewers. 

(left to right) Kae Alexander as Inez and Kayla Meikle as Divine Photos Courtesy of A24

Directorial finesse aside, the film’s visual aesthetics are a treat for the eyes. The use of color and lighting throughout adds an extra layer of storytelling, conveying emotions and setting the mood in a visual language that speaks volumes. The visuals are synchronized with the narrative, showcasing the director’s keen eye for nuances that make each scene resonate.

In conclusion, Medusa Deluxe is a cinematic gem that excels on multiple fronts. It effortlessly marries the intrigue of a classic whodunnit with a roster of characters so captivating that they become more than mere suspects—they are individuals with stories worth uncovering. The clever interplay of humor and drama, combined with cinematography and the delightful use of color, elevates this film beyond the confines of its genre. If you’re seeking a whodunnit film that doesn’t just challenge your deductive skills but also treats you to compelling characters and emotions, Medusa Deluxe is a must-watch.

Dapper Dr Feel

Felipe Patterson aka Dapper Dr. Feel, #BlackLoveConvo & Entertainment | @fdapperdr Dapper Dr. Feel is a Entertainment journalist and member of the Critics Choice Association and African American Film Association.

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