SUNDANCE Movie Review: Knocking
by Julie Perez
When should we believe women?
Say it with me: ALL THE TIME.
Knocking was a midnight selection at Sundance and I found the Swedish film to be completely enthralling. When Molly leaves a psychiatric ward after a mental breakdown, following her partner’s drowning, she moves into a new apartment in an attempt to start over. Director Frida Kempff sets the eerie tone of the film immediately. Soon after Molly is settling into her new place she hears knocking on the wall and when she sets out to investigate the knocking, her neighbors don’t seem to know what she’s talking about. As hard as Molly tries to work through her grief, the knocking on the walls are such a great distraction that she resolves to figure out where it’s coming from.
Molly is convinced that a woman is being held against her will in one of the apartments and when the police refuse to take her calls seriously, she runs the risk of suffering from another mental breakdown. This film forces you to look at your own prejudices. Do you believe women only when they look believable and put-together? Or do their appearances hold no merit on whether you’ll believe them or not? Will you gaslight a mentally ill person when their narrative doesn’t make sense to you? Kempff takes her time with the reveal. The intricate camera work and phenomenal performance by Cecilia Milocco make for an edge-of-your-seat kind of thriller and it feels completely satisfying to get a resolution in the very last minute of the film.
Molly’s unraveling happens quickly and Cecilia Milocco portrays every nuance in just the right tone. Being that the film relies heavily on Milocco’s performance because a lot of the movie is spent in the quiet moments with Molly, it was necessary to feel connected to Molly immediately and Milocco helps you do just that. Cecilia Milocco is absolutely captivating and her performance will grip the audience immediately. Whether you’re feeling her grief over her lost partner or you’re feeling her anxiety over the knocking, there is not a moment where you disregard her emotions.
It could have been a short film.
Though Knocking only runs for 78 minutes and Cecilia Milocco as Molly is absolutely captivating, it still finds itself feeling a bit too long. Don’t let that deter you from the journey though, I watched Amy Schumer’s 2-hour-long, Trainwreck so we all make sacrifices when we must.
Knocking feels like further confirmation that female directors are creating some of the best horror content out there right now. So I beg you to watch Knocking as soon as it becomes possible to do so. Come for the thriller, stay for the life lessons.