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‘Promising Young Woman’ – Review

‘Promising Young Woman’ – Review


Karma’s coming for you, honey. Promising Young Woman is the psychological thriller we have all been waiting for. And Carey Mulligan is the woman of the hour who will bury the hatchet.

A young woman, traumatized by a tragic event in her past, seeks out vengeance against those who crossed her path.

Picture this – pretty young woman with a promising future blown away by trauma and tragedy. Enter our antihero, Cassandra ‘Cassie’ Thomas (Carey Mulligan). Pretty blonde locks, red lips, clad in pastels and lollipop coloured outfits and a ruthless attitude to boot. She’s on a path of vengeance to tackle the conscience of every man wanting to take advantage of a young drunk woman and has dropped out of med school to ensure it comes to an end.

Mulligan perfects Cassie’s cunning and calculated moves with skill. Meanwhile, debut director Emerald Fennell has crafted this film in such a way that it creates a quiet sense of unease that is sure to rattle her audience. The themes may be disturbing, but it serves to illuminate a harsh reality that many are willing to turn a blind eye to.

Cassie has made it her mission in life to gain justice for her friend Nina who was left broken after a messy ordeal that she suffered back in college, and which changed both of these best friends lives forever. The story follows through a series of tallies, where Cass keeps track of her ‘victims’. We see her take all efforts to rouse those she holds accountable for what happened to Nina, through establishing a ‘lived experience’ of losing control of themselves. And the combination of Mulligan’s performance and Fennell’s direction delivers the intensity of Cassie’s justice with a solid swing.

Fennell’s magnificent storytelling goes so far as to illuminate a spotlight on the darker things in life. Even to show how a few of the accused medical professionals go against their Hippocratic Oath to preserve their careers and esteem. Fennell’s direction toys with the audience throughout the picture and she gives this film a real knife’s edge feeling to the narrative.

Stylistically, Promising Young Woman is one of the coolest looking films released all year thanks to its neon laced cinematography, that blends the atmosphere of a 1980s music video with the dollhouse veneer of a Barbie playset. From the visual standpoint, there’s so much to enjoy and Fennell, along with cinematographer Benjamin Kračun, craft a look that could best be described as ‘a rom-com movie that veered into a slasher film’. It’s visually arresting and with the addition of an unsettling synth soundtrack from composter Anthony Willis, Promising Young Woman is the complete and total package.

Promising Young Woman is the revenge story of a badass, albeit traumatised woman who would risk her safety to avenge that person closest to her. With twists and turns throughout, you’ll be left guessing to the very end.

Image: Roadshow Films