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DON’T WORRY DARLING (2022, USA) – 7.5/10

After making her debut as a director with the teenage comedy “Booksmart”, the famous actress Olivia Wilde set herself a much more ambitious task for her second directorial achievement. She filmed a mysterious thriller, the action of which takes place in a utopian community in an unknown place located in the middle of the desert, and everything here looks as if the action took place in the 1950s. The music from that period suggests so, and the environment at first seems like one of those typical suburbs from the fifties where idle housewives wait for their husbands to return from work.

What exactly do all these people who live in that idyllic settlement called Victorytown and located in the interior of California do, is not clear to the viewer, but neither does Alice Chambers (Florence Pugh), whose husband Jack (Harry Styles) just recently got a job there . And while the husbands work, Alice and her company of idle housewives rest, gossip, prepare dinners, mostly do everything that good and caring wives of the fifties did, and they don’t bother too much with what is happening around them. And Alice and Jack act like a young couple head over heels in love, and the idyll is occasionally interrupted by powerful detonations in the distance that seem to suggest that the husbands might be engaged in something related to the development of atomic bombs.

Jack is going to be promoted at work very soon, and everything that happens in Victory is closely watched by the head of that mysterious company, Frank (Chris Pine), who is also a kind of guru of the whole community. Although outwardly it all seems idyllic, it is clear from the beginning that something is wrong, something is very strange and above all bizarre, and the first cracks in Alice’s behavior will start when one of her friends Margaret experiences a kind of nervous breakdown. After that, Alice will also start to experience terrifying nightmares, and at the same time discover that the place they live in is not so ideal. And Wilde (who took on the role of Alice’s friend Bunny, whose husband also works at the same place) prepared some interesting surprises for herself, and we will realize after a while that nothing is really as it seems at first.

“Don’t Worry Darling” reminded a little of the cult dystopian thriller “The Stepford Wives” from the seventies, which Bryan Forbes filmed based on the novel by Ira Levin. That’s how this bizarre utopia will turn into a creepy dystopia after a while, and this almost paradise from the dreams of the fifties will almost turn into a hell from which there is no way out. At the same time, this mindfuck thriller, which is certainly good and interesting, but still did not reach as far as Wilde probably planned, can also be viewed as a subversive parable, and watching “Don’t worry, dear” the question crossed my mind whether the world better and safer if a person does not ask anything, does not think, but works and lives as he is told?

As long as she doesn’t ask and think about anything, everything will be perfect in Alice and Jack’s life, but when she starts asking questions first to herself and to others, everything seems to start falling apart. Or maybe not? Maybe Alice is really just paranoid, just like her friend Margaret, and all these strange things she senses are really only happening in her head? Although at the end there are some holes in the story that cannot boast of any originality, “Don’t Worry Darling” was still a very good thriller. An added plus is not only the finely struck atmosphere and depiction of the period in which the action takes place, or at least it seems so, but also the dazzling, colorful photography of Darren Aronofsky’s regular collaborator, Matthew Libatique.