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RUN SWEETHEART RUN (2020, USA) – 6.5/10

This unusual film will start almost as a romantic comedy, and by the end it will turn from a modern exploitation film, a bizarre black comedy / satire, a campy thriller with a flair of the former American B movie into a subversive feminist horror allegory. “Run Sweetheart Run” appeared in the midnight section of the Sundance festival back in 2020, only to have to wait more than two years for distribution, and the author Shana Feste (The Greatest, Country Strong, Boundaries, Endless Love) then rode the wave of the MeToo movement which has deflated a lot in the meantime. And although at the beginning it seemed that “Run Sweetheart Run” was going to be one of those irritating, statement activist films that have the sole purpose of highlighting some social issue, it was an unexpectedly fun, completely wild lunacy of a film.

The men are pigs in this film, that should not be emphasized, and the young and beautiful single mother Cherie (Ella Balinska) is trying to find a job in order to survive in addition to studying law. And of course she will find a job as a secretary in a law firm, and one day her boss will mistakenly arrange a dinner with a woman on the occasion of her wedding anniversary with a client on the same evening. And he will send Cherie to a meeting with a client, and to her surprise it will be a charming well-to-do guy in his mid-thirties Ethan (the Dane Pilou Asbaek who clearly gives a good fuck in this role). But a business meeting that turns into a blind date for Cherie will end in horror as it turns out that Ethan is a maniacal serial killer who kills women.

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At least it seems that way at the beginning, because we will understand by the end of this film that is exaggerated beyond all limits, and maybe because it does not take itself entirely seriously, “Run Sweetheart Run” even works solidly. It is a bloody horror that is also a not at all subtle allegory of the world, which is often not the safest place in the world for women, because danger will literally lurk around every corner for Cherie during that long night. I keep girls like you where they belong, multiple times during that night chase through Los Angeles Ethan would repeat to Cherie when he got close to her, poking her in the nose that she actually got what she asked for when she showed up in that “Fuck Me” dress.

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It’s a film that will probably cross the lines of good taste for many, especially when we understand towards the end what is actually happening and how the world in this film actually works. The very end of the film is complete madness, completely in the footsteps of exploitation films from the seventies with Pam Grier or Tamara Dobson when these anti-heroines will take their fate into their own hands and embark on a revenge campaign against their oppressors. Well, in the end Cherie will also have help in the form of a sorceress played by Iranian actress Shohreh Agdashloo and it is a film that quite solidly satirizes that mantra about privileged white men in a position who can do whatever they want and a young poor black woman who is used to suffering anyway.

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