Martin Scorsese has changed the filmmaking industry by delivering several masterpieces and fronting conversations that are worth having, like whether Marvel is considered cinema and what worthy movies deserve more recognization.
Scorsese is a lover of cinema. He has worked to restore classic movies, made countless lists of his favorite movies from around the world, and has helped produce modern hits like Uncut Gems, Shirley, and more. He is also a big fan of going to the theater to watch new releases, and this was a great weekend for just that.
The epic The Woman King and the Wes Anderson-esque whodunnit See How They Run opened in theaters this weekend, but the one new release that tickled Scorsese pink was Ti West's Pearl, the prequel to his low-brow arthouse slasher X. The film was shot in secret a week after X had wrapped on principal photography, and stars Mia Goth as the young version of the villainous, murderous old lady, Pearl. The film follows young Pearl through her life as an aspiring actress in 1918. It is blood-soaked, technicolor fun, and Scorsese agrees.
Mia Goth as Pearl in 'Pearl'Credit: A24
Ti West's movies have a kind of energy that is so rare these days, powered by a pure, undiluted love for cinema. You feel it in every frame. A prequel to X made in a diametrically opposite cinematic register (think 50s Scope color melodramas), Pearl makes for a wild, mesmerizing, deeply — and I mean deeply — disturbing 102 minutes. West and his muse and creative partner Mia Goth really know how to toy with their audience ... before they plunge the knife into our chests and start twisting. I was enthralled, then disturbed, then so unsettled that I had trouble getting to sleep. But I couldn't stop watching.
The appeal of Pearl is that West is playing with influence to deliver a vastly different film that is appealing to the cinephile and the horror-lover. The technicolor cinematography and long takes, as opposed to the fast editing, wide shots, and strange camera angles of the '70s aesthetics of X, place this prequel in a Wizard of Oz-type land of horrors.
With West and Goth planning on making MaXXXine, the continuation of Maxine's story from X in the '80s, it will be interesting to see what visual tropes West plays with to deliver the blood, guts, and glory that the first two films masterfully crafted inside a profoundly and oddly touching story.
Perhaps we will get another Scorsese review on the third film, or perhaps he might even get his hands on the project since it is still in the development stages. The best-case scenario is that Pearl has inspired Scorsese to write and direct another horror film.
That last one might be a long shot, but stranger things have happened.
One thing is for sure—West hit gold with X and Pearl, and we can't wait to see what's in store for the third film.
Have you seen Pearl? Let us know your thoughts on the film in the comments!