Damsel 2024 Movie Review

Damsel 2024 Movie Review

Netflix's "Damsel" (2024) roars onto the streaming platform, promising a fiery reimagining of the damsel-in-distress trope. Headlined by the ever-impressive Millie Bobby Brown, the film sets out to challenge our expectations of princesses and the monsters they face. But "Damsel" doesn't simply invert the classic narrative; it crafts a world where both the damsel and the dragon hold unexpected depths. While the film succeeds in its subversion and boasts stunning visuals, it stumbles in its pacing and underdeveloped supporting characters, leaving a sense of missed opportunities.

A Kingdom in Peril: Setting the Stage for Sacrifice

We enter the world of "Damsel" through the eyes of Elodie (Brown), a princess burdened by the weight of her impoverished kingdom. Her father, King Bayford (Ray Winstone), is a man of declining health and dwindling resources. A glimmer of hope arrives in the form of a marriage proposal from Queen Isabelle (Robin Wright) of the seemingly prosperous kingdom of Aurea. Elodie, ever the dutiful daughter, readily accepts, believing it to be a chance to secure a better future for her people.

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The film excels in establishing a distinct visual style. The Bayford castle is a picture of crumbling grandeur, reflecting the kingdom's financial woes. In stark contrast, Aurea is shrouded in an oppressive, gothic atmosphere. The production design by Patrick Tatopoulos creates a sense of foreboding isolation within the castle walls, a feeling that intensifies as the narrative unfolds.

From Bride to Bait: The Subversion of Expectations

Upon arrival at Aurea, Elodie's initial excitement quickly evaporates. The castle is deserted, save for a handful of nervous guards. The truth, a cruel one, is soon revealed: Elodie isn't a bride, but a sacrifice. Queen Isabelle, desperate to appease an ancient debt owed to a fire-breathing dragon, has chosen Elodie as its offering.

This is where "Damsel" truly shines. The subversion of the damsel-in-distress trope feels refreshing. Brown portrays Elodie's initial shock and terror with heartbreaking vulnerability. However, she quickly sheds the damsel persona, transforming into a resourceful survivor. Brown imbues Elodie with a steely determination that is both believable and inspiring.

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A Dragon With a Voice: Unexpected Depths in the Monster's Lair

Thrust into the dragon's lair, a vast cavern network riddled with danger, Elodie's fight for survival becomes the central focus of the film. The dragon itself is a magnificent creation. The CGI seamlessly blends with the practical effects, resulting in a creature that is both terrifying and awe-inspiring.

But what truly elevates the film's portrayal of the dragon is the voice performance by Shohreh Aghdashloo. Her deep, gravelly tones add a layer of unexpected depth and even humor to the monstrous beast. There's a hint of weariness and a touch of melancholy in the dragon's pronouncements, hinting at a creature bound by an ancient pact rather than pure malice.

A Lost Princess, a Lonely Dragon: Narrative Pacing and Character Development

Unfortunately, "Damsel" stumbles somewhat in its narrative execution. While the initial subversion holds promise, the plot becomes predictable after the initial setup. The supporting characters, despite strong performances from actors like Winstone and Wright, lack depth.

Queen Isabelle, in particular, feels like a missed opportunity. Wright portrays the character with a chilling coldness, but her motivations remain underdeveloped. We never truly understand the desperation that drove her to this ruthless act. Similarly, Elodie's journey through the labyrinthine caves could benefit from tighter pacing. The film spends a considerable amount of time on repetitive escape-and-chase sequences, without offering much in the way of character development or plot twists.

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A Smoldering Spark, Not a Raging Inferno: Final Thoughts

"Damsel" has all the ingredients for a captivating fantasy adventure. It boasts a strong central performance from Brown, a visually stunning dragon, and a story that subverts classic tropes. However, the predictable plot and underdeveloped supporting characters hold the film back from reaching its full potential. It's a visually impressive and entertaining diversion, but ultimately leaves you feeling like you've witnessed a smoldering spark instead of a raging inferno.

Watch Here Damsel 2024 Full Movie

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