By Thomas Price, Staff Writer
Anna Biller’s “The Love Witch” is by all accounts an instant classic. There is something so gorgeously magical about a film like this. It is a beautiful send-off of the vintage ‘60s technicolor melodramas that once filled screens in a time long since past. The film follows Elaine (Samantha Robinson), a witch on a quest for love in a small town. It’s a simple plot, yet enough to fill two hours with retro, psychedelic imagery that is sure to dazzle audiences, regardless of whether they are familiar with the homages it makes or not.
“Witch” simply drips with sexual confidence. Its erotic tones help to enhance the overall supernatural magic that exudes from every frame. Every now and again, there will be moments where viewers are reminded of the fact that the story takes place in present day, and how wonderfully charming the feel of the movie really is.
The cinematography is so spot on with its nostalgia-evoking techniques that at times, it is hard to remember that it was produced within the past few years and not decades ago. The editing and visual effects drive home that same quirky nostalgia. The cinematography perfectly exemplifies the elements that defined the films of the past, and the editing only helps to enforce it. However, what drives the tone home is twofold: the production design and the score. The powerful and ominous music, filled with violins, bass and horns, drives home each and every emotion that pours out of the actors. It is a musical style that no longer exists the world of cinema today. While it is a bit overzealous at times, it is sorely missed in modern films.
However, the crowning jewel of “Witch” and its overall success is the production quality itself. Filled with retro, colorful sets brought to life so magically with the technicolor processing, you cannot help but allow yourself to be transported back. This along with costumes that feel as though they were preserved from the 1960s in a time capsule, there are genuinely not enough words to describe the grandness it fills viewers’ hearts with.
The film can at times be unnerving in its visuals and score, to allow for a creepiness to overcome the audience. With that, it even succeeds on its “thriller” genre tag. The director, writer and producer, Anna Biller deserve all the credit in what is sure to be the best film in her promising career to date. How she captured the style so perfectly in the dialogue, direction and overall atmosphere will go down as both a great mystery and an absolute triumph.
“The Love Witch” plays into its own absurdities and in turn, took on the opportunity to infuse some rather subtle feminist themes into it. The film is a visual spectacle. It is a wonderful sendoff. And above all else, it is a piece of cinematic art we will be enjoying for years to come.
“Love Witch” was released on Nov. 11, 2016 and is playing at Nitehawk Cinema and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema-City Point.