Instant Picks of the Week 11/17/17
Gone are the days of scrolling mindlessly through your queue! No longer will you have to sift through the vastness of what’s coming to the instant viewing wastelands this month! Whether you’re looking for a stellar film or an exciting new show to binge, Instant Picks of the Week brings you the hottest releases in film and television on instant viewing platforms that we know you’ll love, or at the very least not despise.
Based on the gripping true story that made international headlines, HONEYTRAP touches on the universal themes of the desire to be accepted—with a dark twist. The film stars Jessica Sula as Layla, a young, doe-eyed girl recently moved from Trinidad to Brixton, London. Layla moves in with her emotionally detached yet good intentioned mother, played by Naomi Ryan in a standout supporting role. Forced to go to the nearby public school, Layla is thrown into the world of gang violence and bad influences from the individuals that slowly start to take form as her sole friend group. Desperate to fit in, she begins to tear at the very fabric of who she is in order to appear worthwhile and intriguing to these strangers. Along her journey, she enters into a twisted love triangle with two boys who have taken an interest in her beauty and innocent charm. As the story progresses and the psychological morphing of Layla ensues, she finds herself an accomplice in the brutal slaying of one of these boys. The film is the first project for director Rebecca Johnson, who also wrote the film. What gives Johnson the ability to craft a genuine story about these low-income teens and their development of an internal social hierarchy is the work she had done as a mentor in the Britton “estate” communities. Moved by the stories she had heard of these young girls falling victim to the violence and malice that surrounded them, Johnson wanted to share her cautionary tale to the world in hopes of tearing down the false glory in which these gangs exist. Told with raw emotion, HONEYTRAP is Johnson’s take on the classic coming-of-age story structure and leaves audiences wondering what it is that drives all these characters to the horrific act at the film’s epic conclusion. [Omar A. Cabezas]
TOP OF THE LAKE (Hulu)
Director Jane Campion is the only female director to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, yet her true masterpiece might just be the TV miniseries TOP OF THE LAKE. Co-written and directed by Campion, TOP OF THE LAKE stars Elisabeth Moss as Sydney detective Robin Griffin, who specializes in sexual assault cases. While visiting her dying mother in New Zealand, Griffin is hired to help the police find the missing, pregnant 12-year-old daughter of a local drug lord. Though pitched as a straightforward mystery, TOP OF THE LAKE is in fact a horrific look at the way women are treated in New Zealand and Australia. Most of the men Griffin encounters have abused women in the past, whether physically or emotionally, and it is revealed that Griffin too was sexually assaulted when she was younger. Some recent articles have claimed that the golden age of television is over due to many male writers being charged of sexual harassment, but Jane Campion proves with TOP OF THE LAKE—as do so many female showrunners with their respective shows—that the golden age of television has scarcely even begun. [Ethan Cartwright]