Alex Reviews "Where the Crawdads Sing"
Following the life of main character Kya, “Where the Crawdads” Sing tells the story of a young girl who was abandoned by her family as a child in the marshes of NORTH CAROLINAAAAAAAAAAA! (inside joke for those of you that watch/listen to both of our shows) and her journey as town outcast known as “The Marsh Girl” who is accused of murder after the body of her ex-boyfriend is found beneath a lookout tower not far from her home.
In brief, nobody should see this train wreck. Check out one of our other reviews, go to VokalNow.com for some great shows, close the browser, go about doing something more enjoyable. If you trust my judgement, you can stop here.
I’ll wait, just in case…
OK, if you are still here, thank you for continuing this review with me. I promise that I will finish with something positive when we get there.
“Where the Crawdads Sing” has so many issues that it may be the worst movie I have ever seen in a theater. The story, writing, acting, cinematography, and overall enjoyment factor all have major problems throughout the entire two-plus hour “experience”. This is both sad and disappointing on many fronts because that should not happen with this many talented people involved.
Any based on a beloved, best-selling novel like this should not be this poorly structured with pacing that is never consistent and never flows well at all. I understand that almost every adaptation of any previously existing material will inevitably have to make sacrifices to details and plot points to translate to the screen properly, but this feels like an experiment in which the screenplay was created by playing an audio version of the book into a dictation program and then having an emotionless computer pick random pieces of story to complete a Mad Libs-style puzzle and was even delivered that way with no questioning of said delivery.
Despite these flaws, I would like to credit Daisy Edgar-Jones (Fresh) for committing wholeheartedly in every scene she is featured in. It isn’t her fault that her character is wildly inconsistent and hard to root for because of it, but I believe the flaw here is in Olivia Newman’s direction in shooting, that feels like character traits were both blurred and forgotten since most films are not shot sequentially. This fact seems to make Kya look ridiculous by bouncing between intelligent, and developmentally challenged (interpreted), confident and inept, along with independent and dependent with no rhyme or reason. Outside of David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck.) doing his best Foghorn Leghorn as an attorney (which was not intended as comic relief), almost the entire remaining cast matched the inconsistencies of Ms. Edgar-Jones’s character to a lesser degree of effectiveness.
The cinematography is also as wildly inconsistent as almost everything else here, with scenes that immerse the audience in a remarkable landscape and others that look like their inspiration was the set of Kermit the Frog’s famous performance of “Bein’ Green” from “Sesame Street”. If that was where the problems ended… but they don’t as a handful of scenes seem to be questionable greenscreen shots used in a Straight-To-Syfy Channel movie. This inconsistency runs so rampant it almost feels intentionally done. The only saving grace in the visual category is Mirren Gordon-Crozier’s wonderful job costuming the characters to add the depth of a 1960s marsh-adjacent community.
My suggestion for a more engaging film would have been to focus more on the couple who helped the young protagonist throughout the bigotry directed at them as African Americans in the south as a parallel to Kya being an outcast to the community. Michael Hyatt (Snowfall) and Sterling Macer Jr. (Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story) were so amazing and absolutely brought a metric ton of heart to every scene they were in, whether that heart was care for people they didn’t need to or strength in the face of wretchedness reminding me of a saying our host is fond of “Be the light and fight the darkness.”
All of this comes together to make a boring, slog of an experience that only gave me anticipation of the credits rolling so I could leave the theater. Having no base knowledge of the source material, I asked how it lined up with the novel of those present who were familiar, and apparently, it doesn’t even hit that mark. This film just simply doesn’t work. AT ALL.