There are pieces of several good movies in these two hours and 30 minutes but none of them last for very long and what’s in between isn’t very good. The novel it is based on has almost a thousand pages in paperback and not having read it I would still wager it would’ve been better served as a TV series than this overwrought film that is narratively, visually, and emotionally all over the place.
The longest stretch of coherence — our young semi-orphan Theo’s coming-of-age in a Nevadan subdevelopment with his new friend Boris — should have comprised the first two acts of a 90-minute three-act movie that would still have had enough different storylines to satisfy the early 2020s fad of too much plot (see also: Soul). This structure would both have prevented Nicole Kidman’s family of emotionally stunted ciphers from contaminating the movie, and given Finn Wolfhard’s adorable pretend-Russian accent more screen time.
Directed by John Crowley, 2019.