For five full years, we had to wait for what one of the leading American filmmakers of his generation, Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, Black Swan, Wrestler), would come up with after the criticized, but for me, sensational “Mother!”. “Kit” is a much more intimate, almost minimalistic drama whose action takes place almost exclusively in one interior, and the story of the eerily thick professor of English literature has been brewing in the director’s head for more than a decade. But the biggest problem was that he couldn’t find an actor to play the 300-kilogram Charlie, and then Brenad Fraser appeared to him. You’ve probably already read several times that the Oscar-nominated Fraser achieved the role of a lifetime here, and Arronofski’s gamble to hire an almost forgotten actor for this complex, layered and difficult role, who is mostly remembered for some bad movies from the nineties, certainly paid off.
And everything here revolves around Charlie, that grotesque guy who can’t get up from the couch on his own, where he spends all his days. We learn that he was once married and has a daughter, now a high school graduate, but he left Charlie’s family because of a romance with a student he fell madly in love with. A few years later, Charlie’s partner died and he was left alone, and apparently he decided to drown the guilt, grief and pain in binge eating. And in a short time he has literally turned into a hippopotamus, a shocking creature who is ashamed of himself and his only window into the world is the nurse Liz (Hong Chau is also deservedly nominated for supporting actress) who occasionally visits him.
After suffering a heart attack and realizing that he almost killed himself with his lifestyle, Charlie will try to reconnect with his 17-year-old daughter Ellie (Sadie Sink, the red-haired girl from Stranger Things), an angry and bitter high school senior who cannot forgive her father that he left them in such a way. The young traveling preacher Thomas (Ty Simpkins) will appear as an important character in this chamber, poignant and actually incredibly sad drama, who will actually save Charlie’s life after he accidentally appears at his door when he has a heart attack. For fanatical Thomas, it will be a moment of realization that God wants him to save Charlie’s sinful soul, but the question is, can someone actually be saved if he doesn’t want to? And is it easier to save someone else and is it a distraction that you should actually try to save yourself.
“The Whale” was an extremely layered and complex film, a poignant drama about unfortunate destinies and people who are each imbued with a sense of guilt in their own way. All of them, with a reason or not, believe that they have somehow made a mistake in life and are trying to make amends in their own way, even though the time for making amends has long passed for most of them. This especially applies to Charlie, who has given up on himself and continues to eat himself, even though he knows very well how it will end, and very quickly. So even though “The Whale” is a film with which one has to feel empathy and compassion until the end, Arronofsky makes it very difficult. The very sight of that fat creature must cause disgust and revulsion, at least subconsciously, and the camera and direction enhance this because right at the beginning we see Charlie in its entirety.
But over time, that barrel of fat (to use Zagor’s vocabulary), which we see every now and then being filled with sandwiches, pizzas, sweets and Coca-Cola, really turns into a man. It becomes clear to us that behind all those hernias is a person with a tragic and sad fate, actually a good and hard-working man who decided to punish himself for what he did and what happened to him. Religious determinism and a kind of predestination were also visible in Arronofski’s earlier films, and it is evident here, and not only through the character of the young preacher who has set himself this bizarre task.