The 2020 Sundance Film Festival kicks off in just over a month, which means that for those of us not making the trek to Park City this time around, the most wonderful time of the year has already begun. That’s right: trailer season is here, as the studios compete to drum up advance buzz for their hottest titles with sneak peeks of the major indie releases filling out the year to come.
Getting in on the earlier side is Promising Young Woman, an off-kilter rape-revenge thriller with a blackly comic feminist edge. If the particulars of that sentence seem to give off major Killing Eve vibes, that’s not just your imagination – it’s the feature directing debut of the magnificently named Emerald Fennell, who stepped in as showrunner for the second series of the popular show.
We first see the Carey Mulligan-played Cassie in a worrisome state, drunk and alone and hungrily eyed by men. One of them brings her home, and it appears like a regrettably familiar script is about to play out, until Cassie snaps out of it and reveals herself to be far more than her would-be rapist had bargained for.
She makes a habit out of baiting men (an ensemble of unsuspecting creeps under the impression they’re nice guys that includes Adam Brody, Bo Burnham, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Sam Richardson) and dispatching them once they invariably try to take advantage of her. But this behavior may steam from some repressed trauma in her own past; we get snippets of an accusation levied during her school days, the echoes of which still ring in her ears in the present.
From the cheeky string cover of Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’ to the latex nurse getup, the trailer teases a wicked spin on the tired tropes of the woman in peril, the contrite violator, and the avenging angel. Watch your back, Ms 45.
Promising Young Woman comes to theaters in the US on 17 April, 2020. A UK date has yet to be set.
Published 11 Dec 2019
In reckoning with the horrors of colonialism, Jennifer Kent’s film implicates the audience in the graphic acts of sexual and racial violence it depicts.
Set in the picturesque mountains of Utah, Sundance is a film lover’s paradise with a difference.