In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2018)
The Good and the Not-So-Good
The Good - better than giallo
Peter Strickland has mastered the Giallo style so deftly that, since quite a while, his movies surpass both in quality and technique the original Giallo films—though that’s not quite a hard feat to accomplish. Even if he’s taking inspiration from 70s horror and sexploitation productions, Strickland has made a name for himself thanks to a neat style, and cult hits like Berberian Sound Studio and The Duke of Burgundy. In Fabric might not be his best effort, but it does confirm his talent.
The Good - Miss Luckmoore’s thick accent
Is this really the first time where the always brilliant Marianne Jean-Baptiste plays the lead role in a movie? It can’t be true, can it? If so, shame on you, filmmakers, shame on you.
But even though she is excellent as Sheila, a lone woman who can’t catch a break between an uncaring son, a series of catastrophic blind dates and being harassed by a killer dress, it is Stickland’s favourite actress Fatma Mohamed who steals the show as Mohamed goes along with the joke and plays saleswoman Miss Luckmoore with menace and sarcasm at the same time.
The Good - Introducing Comic duo Stash and Clive
Mohamed is not the only one who’s a riot in this insane production. Julian Barratt and Steve Oram are idiotic and hilarious as Sheila’s bosses, Stash and Clive. The bits where both pricks tell Sheila how to improve her work skills are the best moments of In Fabric and give Strickland a chance to condemn corporate management and its constant bullshittery.
The Not-So-Good - And Then It’s Over
It doesn’t amount to anything, does it?
Spoilers ahead. The lack of plot development is disappointing as we see how the dress—and the movie—relentlessly tortures poor Sheila to then suddenly kill her. And that’s it. Why didn't the dress kill her before? Or after? Why does the story focus on Sheila if the movie won't show the consequences of her death either to the people she knew or the evil minds behind this cursed dress? What’s the point of it then?
The Not-So-Good - Part II
In Fabric loses momentum in its last forty minutes with a second story that not only doesn’t deliver anything new to the mystery of the killer dress, but that also gives you the feeling that Strickland found out his movie fell short and included another plot to get an average movie length.
Five easy steps to shake a hand.
Did the transaction validate your paradigm of consumerism?
Or basically any line delivered by Mohamed, who sounds just like me when I’m trying to write a review and turn to the synonyms dictionary.
Fashion victims who are convinced their clothes have shrunken instead of, you know, admitting they got fat.
Fatma Mohamed’s full commitment to the cause deserves all the awards.
A killer costume design (Jo Thompson) for a movie about a killer dress. It makes sense.
Why am I watching this?
Competing at London Film Festival.
Marianne Jean-Baptiste in a lead role.
Judging a Film by Its trailers
The trailer captures the movie’s eerie atmosphere, but suspiciously conceals that In Fabric is mainly a satire. Watch.
For Your Consideration
Best Director: Peter Strickland - Best Supporting Actress: Fatma Mohamed - Best Comic Duo: Julian Barratt and Steve Oram - Best Cinematography: Ari Wegner - Best Editing: Matyas Fekete - Best Music: Cavern Of Anti-Matter - Best Costume Design: Jo Thompson - Best Production Design - Best Ensemble Cast - Best Poster: UK Version
Directed by Peter Strickland | 2018 | UK
Main cast: Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Hayley Squires, Leo Bill, Fatma Mohamed, Gwendoline Christie, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Caroline Catz, Julian Barratt, Steve Oram, Richard Bremmer, Jaygann Ayeh