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Agnes ★★★



Director: Mickey Reece

Cast: Molly Quinn, Jake Horowitz, Sean Gunn, Chris Browning, Ben Hall, Mary Buss, Chris Sullivan

Released: Tribeca Film Festival 2021

The Nun genre (YES, it’s a thing) has always been a fascinating part of cinema. From Black Narcissus, Le Religieuse, to Ms.45, we have uncovered all kinds of heroines and hellish tales from them. This year with Paul Verhoeven’s Benedetta being one of the most anticipated, there are a few Nun films to keep an eye out for.

Enter Mickey Reece’s Agnes, which is making its debut at Tribeca Film Festival 2021. The film is based around rumours of demonic possession at a religious convent prompts a church investigation into the strange goings-on among its nuns. A disaffected priest and his neophyte are confronted with temptation, bloodshed and a crisis of faith.

Agnes is a titillating slow burn that explores faith and salvation in quite a non-confirmative way. Reece trims the fat and breaks it into two parts during life at the convent and then life after faith. It is quite a chilling possession movie, to begin with, and Reece attempts to horrify and make you ask a lot of questions. Religion is one of those topics that can easily be quite dull in cinema, but Reece engages you with these nuns and their constant questions about their choices. Once Agnes has been possessed, the seed of doubt instigates itself even more so. Reece toys around with his audience with subtle moments of gore and terror but brings a lot of dark humour to the table.

The first segment is a precursor to what eventually follows. As Mary adjusts to life beyond her faith, we discover the deeper core of the film. The world Reece builds is quite warped and empty, very similar to Mary’s views of the world. Molly Quinn’s performance gives the second act a lot of gravitas and meaning, but her past still haunts her. Reece takes ownership of his vision and loves to keep the fear throughout its runtime. While some of the more profound questions never truly get answered, the film does have quite a hypnotic hold over you.

Unfortunately, at times you do question the whole point of Agnes. The narrative for such a short runtime can drag and become disinteresting. You can see where Reece is going, but it never fully hits the levels of the genre. Regardless of this, Agnes is wonderfully crafted with its soft lighting and Renaissance-esk photography. As a character study, it does leave you guessing and asking yourself a lot of questions about your own views on faith. The ever-hunting essence of our demons following us and filling us with regret will always create interesting types of cinema. Agnes looks deep into the past and tells us that our past will always catch up with us.

Lover of all things indie and foreign language. Can be found rambling on YouTube at times!

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