Evan Rachel Wood is, by all accounts, a person of formidable talents. Her presence in any film or TV show lends it a kind of vibration; an energy that can barely be contained.
In Miranda July's Kajillionaire, her quiet, seething discomfort is palpable through the screen. Wood stars as Old Dolio (yep!), daughter of grifters Robert and Theresa Dyne (Richard Jenkins and Debra Winger respectively).
They embark on a big con with their new teammate Melanie (Rodriguez) and things begin to go awry for the whole Dyne clan, but for Old Dolio especially. The result is an exceptional movie, which builds to a final act full of suspense, emotion, and awe. And, yes, weirdness.
Off-kilter-humour, a July speciality, is at its peak in Kajillionaire. Wood is joined by Gina Rodriguez, whose normality becomes the weirdness within the narrative lens of the movie.
July is a filmmaker whose talent for the uncanny and offbeat rates amongst the likes of Charlie Kaufman and Yorgos Lanthimos. In Kajillionaire she is at her best.
We all know what it's like to have our understanding of what is normal suddenly and irrevocably altered. And though Kajillionaire's 'normal' is anything but, the fear that comes from knowing nothing will ever be the same is enough to shake the viewer to their core.
This wouldn't be possible without Evan Rachel Wood as Old Dolio, a character who is instantly relatable despite being nothing like anyone you've ever met before. By adding this role to her oeuvre, Wood clearly demonstrates an unparalleled talent.
Kajillionaire is, in some ways, a coming-of-age movie, but it eschews the typical glow-up for an internal reckoning that's years overdue. The result is a grown-up growing-up movie, and a deep and moving catharsis for viewers.
The reveals throughout the movie prove July knows how to tell a story. She weaves the narrative like a roller coaster, jolting you towards the edge and dropping you off it when you think you're safe. For those on the fence, afraid that it's just a bit too weird, we urge you to give it a try anyway.
If any single thing had been different, it's very likely the movie wouldn't have been good; Kajillionaire could have been too bizarre, too slapstick, too self-aware. Instead, we get a desperate, just-weird-enough, beautiful film.
Kajillionaire is out in cinemas on October 9
Digital Spy has launched its first-ever digital magazine with exclusive features, interviews, and videos. Access the latest edition with a 1-month free trial, only on Apple News+.
Interested in Digital Spy's weekly newsletter? Sign up to get it sent straight to your inbox – and don't forget to join our Watch This Facebook Group for daily TV recommendations and discussions with other readers.
You Might Also Like