Nancy Drew, a smart high schooler with a penchant for keen observation and deduction, stumbles upon the haunting of a local home. A bit of an outsider struggling to fit into her new surroundings, Nancy and her pals set out to solve the mystery, make new friends, and establish their place in the community
18 Jan Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (2019)
I’ve watched this version and the one with the same title from the thirties back to back. Originally it was in the service of my history of mysteries, but neither qualify. Only this one is worthy of comment, because of the apparent excellence of the demographic engineering.
So many films suppress the cinematic and narrative experiments in the service of cultural capture. For a student of film it is a trade off because in ordinary film, where the qualities of film are exploited and sometimes extended, we are happy to accept stereotypes, tropes and genre conformity. But when the project is about seduction of identity, the stereotypes are up for experimentation. All else in the media is in support.
It isn’t just the marvellous creation of this Nancy. I predict this actress will have a rich and much admired career. I thought the same of and early Heath Ledger when I saw him in a King Arthur project with similar goals and values. She not just shines, she understands emotional manipulation.
She’s what you are supposed to look at. She’s what you are supposed to see, but the heavy engineering has been done around her, in place and gang. Sure, this is Scooby mixed with the old mean girl redemption story. But look closer at how the camera stages groups. Look at the apparently different sets of the same hidden passage.
There’s craft in this that deserves to be understood. Disney used to have a stable of experts that knew how to do this before the TeeVee production ethic killed it. Maybe we’ll get it back. Because in film, I appreciate experimentation and evolution in any dimension.
Posted in 2019
Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.