Film Review: In Fabric Perversely Challenges Our Habits, Routines, and Desires

The Pitch.There’s something profoundly gratifying about watching a film take off into some uncharted part of the imagination and wondering, Did that just happen? Did this film really just do that? And when you see it happening over and over again—a director’s purest surreal impulses steering the car, taking you with them, unworried about shock, disturbance, bafflement, anything—you may feel, once the film is over, that your mind has been truly, as the cliché goes, bent. Such is the experience of watching In Fabric, the new film from Peter Strickland, purveyor of such previous oddities as The Duke of Burgundy. Ostensibly about a red dress that has a distinctly unpleasant effect on its wearers, often bringing violence or worse on them, it’s not really about a dress. But the movie isn’t a metaphor, either; it’s more a philosophical character study of the dress’ purchasers, a who-how-why-dunit in which you have the answer to begin with, after which many larger questions start. Is the film perverse? At the least, yes. At the same time, though, it’s intimate, and real, and sad, even when one could claim some of its parts, by themselves, are unbelievable. It’s a Bargain, in More Ways Than One: The film […]