Girl, Interrupted (Mangold, 1999)

Director James Mangold has a talent for taking familiar genre traits and injecting a sense of sincerity to the proceedings. Girl, Interrupted is no different, basically showing a female version of One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest, yet the film maintains a distinct style and grace which feels altogether Mangold. In each of his first three films Mangold focuses on one aesthetic choice to tell the story – the sombre pacing in Heavy, the harsh modernization of Western motifs in Cop Land, and now a beautiful sense of montage in Girl, Interrupted. Mangold often transitions to flashbacks, new scenes, and moments of dramatic tension through direct glances, moving the camera and cutting all at the same time. Winona Ryder’s Susanna and her breaking mental state become represented by this fluid, constantly shifting style of editing, and it remains the most fascinating thing about the film. Angelina Jolie, in her over the top Oscar winning performance, shines the most when she doesn’t say a word. Ironic if you ask me.

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