‘braid’ Review: Childhood Friends Play A Dangerous Game In This Jumpy Thriller
It’s a hard knock life for Tilda (Sarah Hay) and Petula (Imogen Waterhouse), two of the young women of “Braid,” a jumpy thriller written and directed by Mitzi Peirone. Their only moments of repose are at the film’s opening, and even those aren’t too relaxed.
Contemplating the spoils of a drug-deal rip-off, one of them allows that this beats waiting tables. Then the heat shows, and they’re out the window and on the run. They’re not on a train for 10 minutes before their lack of fare compels one of them to take a conductor into a restroom for some light S-and-M in lieu of payment.
Hoo, boy. The pair eventually reach the mansion of a childhood friend, a woman of both means and mental illness who likes to play a variation of house in her adulthood. Tilda and Petula (whose name is pronounced by all the characters as if they’re going to say “petulant”) plan to play along until they can find the safe and abscond with its cash.
That these characters aren’t likable is a deliberate feature of the movie’s in-your-face mode. It dovetails with the hallucinatory action, and the film language used to put it across. Off-kilter camera angles, extremes in color grading, vivid set dressing, fast motion, slow motion; like the spaghetti-sauce commercial used to say, “It’s in there.” Peirone’s everything-but-the-kitchen-sink directing does tend to head butt her thin writing, but the movie eventually coalesces as a sly, bitter parable against chasing-your-dreams optimism.
In certain respects, it’s reminiscent of Brian De Palma’s early film “Sisters,” a virtuosic but callow work. De Palma went on to use his bountiful bag of cinema tricks to more fruitful, even classic, effect. I hope Peirone is able to do likewise.