Entertainment » Movies

In Fabric

by Kevin Taft
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Dec 6, 2019
'In Fabric'
'In Fabric'  

My nominee for one of the most annoying and ridiculous films of the year, "In Fabric" - written and directed Peter Strickland ("The Duke of Burgundy") - hits a few notes commenting on consumerism, but fails to make any of it land.

The first half of the film concerns working single mom Sheila (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), who buys a red dress she sees in a catalog at a weird clothing store. The dress, however, causes a number of strange things to happen, including ruining a washing machine, causing nightmares, killing people, and generally causing chaos. The second half of the film follows new characters who are, sadly, not as interesting as the initial ones.

The one connecting thread (as it were) is the dress and the shop it was purchased from. The store offers strange TV advertisements that are freaky and frightening, but somehow seduce shoppers to come to the store. The workers, led by Jill (Sidse Babett Knudsen), speak in overly-complicated phrasing that makes purchasing items seem like a monumental achievement of self and societal importance. It's amusing for a bit, and along with Jean-Baptiste's performance, the only truly compelling thing about the film.

Shot like a '70s horror film, "In Fabric" is clearly being told in a very specific way, but those who want to see it and appreciate it will be limited. There is certainly an audience for this, but it's very specialized and will test most viewers' patience. I mean, a dress that slinks around on its own or floats in the air is comical, and yes, this is billed a partly a comedy, but it's not really humorous. Perhaps with a larger audience and a little "plant" influence, this might be a hoot. For this viewer, I just wanted it to unravel as quickly as possible so I could get on with my life.

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.

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