Agnes (2021)

Agnes (2021) MOVIE DETAILS
Name: Agnes
Year: 2021
Country: USA
Director: Mickey Reece
Main cast: Molly C. Quinn, Jake Horowitz, Hayley McFarland, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn
Runtime: 92 minutes
Production company: Perm Machine, Divide/Conquer, QWGmire

For those who have never heard of him, which probably is the majority of us, Mickey Reece is a very prolific and very independent filmmaker that has specialized in explaining mundane stories with charismatic characters and a constant touch of fantasy. Due to the nature of his work (and his very limited budgets, obviously), he is just starting to have international recognition, and it is especially thanks to his recent and awards-winner film Climate of the Hunter (2019). Now, with Agnes (2021) he might have done a big step not to conventional and commercial cinema, but at least to a higher level of notoriety. And, to be honest, I think it’s well deserved.

But, focusing on the film, Agnes (2021) seems to be at first a common exorcism horror movie but it has much more than that. The story is divided into two halves, the first one with a strong influence of The Exorcist (1973) not only for the tone of the narrative and the obscure of the images, but from the experienced priest / younger priest tandem, and the depicting of the high authorities of the church as bureaucrats that want to maintain their superior status and keep the so-called demonic possessions and exorcism procedures hidden. Because the routine discipline and tranquility of a convent breaks when a young nun starts to behave in strange ways and supernatural events happen. Has a demon taken control of little Agnes?

The second half of the story is when Agnes (2021) differs from most of the exorcism movies out there. The horror side of the previous events steps aside as the film focus on the life of Mary, the best friend of the possessed nun Agnes. Mary left the convent and now she is forced to fit into a real world she is not used to. But this is neither another typical loss-of-faith story, since the movie is communicating more than what the conversations say out loud, and at moments it seems the director Mickey Reece is exorcising his own thoughts about religion and society out.

This world and this society we have created never came with an instructions book. And, sometimes, many of us get lost, both physically and in a personal way. Once poor Mary has lived inside the lies of the church it is very complicated for her to fit in the outside world again. New responsibilities and decisions to be made by herself alone, plus the need to interact with other human beings, that is not an easy quest for a character like this former nun. And Mickey Reece takes advantage of his little Mary to express out some of those doubts, some of those questions, not waiting for answers, although some of the characters might have one; just letting his thoughts speak out.

Overall, Agnes (2021) is a characters movie. The few characters that appear during the running time have a big impact and something to say to Mary, which serves the filmmaker as a vehicle to express his own thoughts about a very touch subject. It seems to have a critical component towards the organized church and those who decide to dedicate their lives to follow the doctrine, but I don’t think that is the final point of the film. And the horror element of the exorcism and the demonic possessions are only an excuse to enter into the real subject: oneself. In matters of faith and personal relations. In matters of understanding this world. Mary crosses paths with a few characters that could be developed much extensively, like her disgusting boss played by Chris Sullivan and the frustrated comedian Sean Gunn portrays magnificently. Those characters could indeed have a lot more to say and to be exploited in film, but this is the story of Mary and those supporting people only matter when she is with them.

In the end, we all are alone in this world. It doesn’t matter how much money, friends, or lovers we have, the only perpetual thing is that we are with ourselves all the time. And when you let a fantasy as religion can be to take over your life, with all its rules, fearful punishments, and submissive needs, it is normal that sooner or later all is gone. That feeling is here packed as a very beautifully filmed and written movie, not pretentious but very sincere, a story with the entity of an independent drama but wrapped up in the genre of horror. A very recommendable work by a filmmaker that is proving once again he has things to say for those of us who are willing to listen. Not preaching, just sharing. Agnes (2021) delivers more than you expect.

RATE: 6/10


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