Julia (Ashley Williams) goes on a date with an apparent “nice guy”. It ends horribly with her being beaten and bruised after a rape ordeal and left for dead at the riverside of New York City. All of this happens before the title screen pops up!
She miraculously wakes up after a mysterious injection from one of her attackers and manages to make it all the way home (without anyone offering to help her might I add. Although, in this day and age that’s not necessarily a shocking feature). She hops in the bath and we’re treated to some seriously dark and artistic cinematography. The cinematography proves to be consistently well thought out and really makes the movie. I almost felt like I was watching an art film at some points it was that perfect!
Instead of going to the police, Julia decides to go to a bar where her downward spiral begins as she gets sucked into an alternative form of “Revenge Therapy” after getting approached by a very goth’d up Tahnya Tozzi (Sadie).
One scene that really stuck out to me and really made me realise that this film was going to take a turn for the worst was during Sadie and Julia’s first “training” session which was actually just a makeover. Sadie tells Julia that she’s perfect the way she is, yet continues to smother makeup on her face. From this point on the movie makes little sense and is far too farfetched to believe at points.
Throughout the beginning of the film we feel character empathy for Julia, which goes on a slow decline throughout the film. Julia is almost too broken to appreciate and sympathise with. Matthew Brown may have seen this coming, therefore threw in the odd flashback scene at points where our empathy for Julia was fading to hate. The flashbacks serve as a somewhat in-your-face reminder as to why we should sympathise with her. A cheap trick if you ask me!
Throughout the film we’re treated to absolutely top class acting from both Ashley Williams and Tahnya Tozzi. Ashley proves her acting diversity throughout this film. She can play a broken and fractured woman on the brink of giving up and she can also play a confident, bad-ass assassin.
Tahnya also proves her immense acting diversity. She plays a stone cold hearted killer along with the caring side we see towards the end. If I was casting for a film, I would hire these two ladies in a heartbeat!
All in all, Julia is not a bad film. I actually quite enjoyed it. But the complete lack of thought in some places made it harder and harder to enjoy. Rape and assault are very real things and to have that contrasted with a storyline in the second half of the film that is completely unbelievable and farfetched is not a good contrast. Matthew Brown had some hits in this movie and some misses. All in all I think this is a great debut full-length feature. I’m looking forward to what he comes up with next!