The Netflix movie that makes you spin on the couch and won’t let you blink

Childhood provides an almost inexhaustible metaphor for situations where a character’s resistance is put to the test, often unfolding in conflicts of a different nature, which in turn reveal the true mysteries of the human soul that one wants to talk about. The story of a poor couple fighting for the life of their only child contains so much drama that little by little a rather subtle tendency is observed either to extract some humor from these torturous circumstances or to include even more sinister elements and hope that history follows the natural path of terror. “Eli” is in the second category. The film by the Irishman Ciarán Foy abuses everything that the genre has that is most expressive, with the intention of provoking reactions in the spectator that make him question conjunctures that fit natural but hide perverse reasoning and world visions concerning complex problems. if the equation depends much on small revolutions regarding these seemingly ordinary aspects of life, with its many moments of pain and agony.

Eli, the boy who is both strong and vulnerable at the same time played by Charlie Shotwell, has the ability to instill discomfort and pity in the audience, emotions that alternate and compete for center stage in the screenplay by David Chirchirillo, Ian Goldberg and Richard Naing. Perhaps the action unfolds too quickly in 98 minutes of a story full of details, in form and content, and already in the first sequences the director gives some very elementary clues for the audience to place themselves. One of them is undoubtedly the mansion where Rose and Paul, parents of Eli, Kelly Reilly and Max Martini, take their son, attracted by the promise of a cure for the rare disease that turns him into a paranoid, perhaps criminal, but necessary . Jeff Cutter, the director of photography, accentuates the stony gray of the house where Doctor Isabella Horn has a research center dedicated to studying the mysterious disease affecting the boy. Eli’s hospitalization leads the plot to a second act of tension in which Lili Taylor initially embodies a villain, a bit caricatured, but who reserves good surprises as the brutality of the boy’s treatment comes to light. As is almost always the case in these films, Foy hides explanations of Eli’s true evil in the final moments, a rather silly secret that was already all too obvious when Haley entered the scene, certainly the most disturbing figure in the film. Sadie Sink maintains her character’s ambiguity until the end, using soft movements and serene diction, until a little less than ten minutes before the end, this confused type makes sure to lay the cards on the table.

The satirical component of “Eli” is only noticeable even in the last scenes, where the director leaves comments between frightening and ironic about occult manifestations, Satanism and the unusual participation of children in this gear. In fact, all this was in front of our eyes all the time, starting with the title, and surprisingly, we were not aware of it. This is sometimes the greatest witchcraft in cinema.

Movie: Eli
Direction: Ciarán Foy
Year: 2019
Sex: Horror
Note: 8/10

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