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Beyond the Hills (Cristian Mungiu, 2012) 4.5/5
The only still I saw from this film was of a bunch of creepy looking nuns in black garb huddled together and immediately thought I knew what this film was gonna be about. I went in assuming it was gonna be about this seemingly quiet little convent with these strict nuns appearing to be all pure and holy but actually performing all sorts of evils and hypocrisies with a couple of lesbian innuendos thrown in for good measure. I mean because apparently, people like me get some sort of sick amusement from watching that type of shit or whatever. But thank God I was proven wrong and thank God there are still filmmakers who have more sense than to make stupid films like those.
The amazing thing about Beyond the Hills is that the viewer is so effectively immersed in the ways of the people inside the convent that when all those terrible things started to happen, you don’t actually realize just how horrible they are nor do you realize the potential tragedy that those actions could possibly cause because 1. these people are so well-meaning and 2. you feel like you would’ve done the same thing at those given moments. I mean at some point you do realize that they’re basically doing some crazy stuff to Alina like they were basically crucifying her and shit and it does bother you somewhat but at the same time you understand their actions and you’re also thinking well, I don’t know what else I would’ve done to be honest.
In the end, I found myself taking the side of these nuns even though practically speaking, they did actually just kill a person, but the fact that I sympathized with them was was something I did not anticipate. Normally, I would’ve just completely acted like that doctor in that hospital after they rushed Alina in and just started judging them as a bunch of crazy nuns. This point is driven home once again when the two guys start to talk about that boy who killed his mother. I think what it says about people nowadays is not that people are getting crazier, it’s that whenever some really horrible thing happens, we just fully consume the sensational aspect of it and reject any attempt to have any human understanding of the situation and simply accept it as a testament to the world getting crazier and crazier then quickly just move past it. I’m certain this film works on many levels and could be interpreted in different ways but so far, these are what struck me the most about the film.