directed by Evan Glodell
I have never done this before, but I have to dedicate a secondary review to just two major components of Evan Glodell’s opus, Bellflower: the sound (mainly the sound design) and the photography (notably the Coatwolf Model II).
The sound design of Bellflower is some of the most evocative I have experienced in some time, the kind of aural presence that stimulates emotions and feelings quite independent from your conscious self. A shout. The rough rumble of fire. An engine screaming. A deep, primal growl that grows a wrath in you, or a fear, or a profound discomfort that percolates inside you like an acid, surprising you. It’s like when the doctor raps on your knee and stimulates a reflex that, try as you might, you cannot suppress.
Evan Glodell’s colossus, dubbed the Coatwolf Model II, is as close to a magic wand as a filmmaker is going to find. When the trailer first aired, my little brother DC and I puzzled over the curiously odd way each scene looked. What was happening? How could it be? We then stumbled upon the Model II, which only sparked more questions. How could the Model II exist? What made it work? But it wasn’t until today, after I had time to digest the film and was actually recalling it after the fact that I realized the true magic of Glodell’s beast. What I perceived as unique and new in the moment had somehow shapeshifted in the night, somehow become something altogether different than it had been the day before. The images generated by the Model II are surreal, model-esque at times, and once the mind has a chance to process these images as memories, both the images themselves along with the happenings of a scene begin to seem mythic, a monstrous fairy tale that seems as mysterious and enthralling as it did when all I had to go on was a sequence of Glodell getting in the Medusa (you’ll see) and disappearing in a fog of dust. Even now, as I recall a scene, or a shot, or even a color, I am confused and drawn to this quality. I am afraid for you, Glodell, afraid that a mob is going to come for you in the night to try you for witchcraft or something.
In all seriousness, Bellflower is a film that pulls you in, throttles you at times, but will not let you go. In fact, its grip seems only to tighten with time.