Midsommar: Director's Cut
★ ★ ★ - Good
The first 10-15 minutes are the best directed cinema of the year, every shot choice, the sound mix, the way it all builds like a cruel joke with a brutal punchline. I felt certain the shorter version started with the police (Fire Dept?) inside the garage because that's how you convey the plot but lose all the texture. I also guessed wrong that their first stop was part of the longer version, and I still don't know why it wasn't cut. Not that I was bored, it just doesn't say anything we don't learn later. Overall, the almost 3-hour running time was a great benefit. I felt like I was living through the 9 day ritual instead of merely observing it. The way key scenes would be dragged out were earned, and so full of dread. (I spent about 40 minutes uncertain if one guy was going to have sex with a teenage redhead or get raped by a bear, and I didn't think the character would be aware of which was happening either.)
I loved the way the script would weave uncomfortable relationship comedy between the ceremonies, but to take from the comments above about Hereditary, I found the last 15 minutes deeply silly. The costumes went from Wicker Man 1973 to Wicker Man 2006. I also feel like for the great leap Ari Aster has taken as a director - and his skill with drawing out a moment bears comparison to Leone - Ari Aster the writer needs to cut away a couple of ideas and fully develop what he has. In the interest of telling about that one unforgettable Summer, we lose Florence Pugh's trauma to the flowers.