Dir.: Darren Aronofsky, Cast: Brendan Fraser, Hong Chan, Ty Simkins, Samantha Morton, Sadie Sink; USA 2022, 117 min.
The Whale never breaks free from its claustrophobic stage origins, adapted for the screen by Samual D Hunter and based on his 2012 play. In contrast to his usual fare Darren Aronofsky’s direction is restrained, by his own admission, in a feature that deals with the ‘elephant in the room’ of the 21st century: Obesity. Brendan Fraser beefs up for a gargantuan performance as the fated fatty Charlie, traumatised by his partner’s suicide and wallowing towards an early grave in a dour Idaho backwater where he teaches creative writing via Zoom.
Charlie has no desire to be hospitalised and his ample finances provide for nurse Liz (Chau) to look after him, his estranged wife Mary (Morton) and daughter Ellie (Sink) putting in appearances for obvious reasons. Christian cult member Elder Thomas (Simkins) brings a twist to the plot, completing the quarter of depressive truth-seekers.
VENICE FILM FESTIVAL | GOLDEN LION COMPETITION 2022