[The charitable reading is that Ready Or Not understands how
moneyed entitlement knows no gender—that the only way to break the
arbitrary yet destructive grasp of the super-rich is to chop it off,
or possibly light it on fire.] [https://portside.org/] 

 PORTSIDE CULTURE 

 READY OR NOT, HERE COMES AN ENTERTAININGLY GRUESOME EVISCERATION OF
THE 1%  
[https://portside.org/2019-08-20/ready-or-not-here-comes-entertainingly-gruesome-evisceration-1]


 

 Jesse Hassenger 
 August 19, 2019
AV Club
[https://film.avclub.com/ready-or-not-here-comes-an-entertainingly-gruesome-evi-1837283905]


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 _ The charitable reading is that Ready Or Not understands how
moneyed entitlement knows no gender—that the only way to break the
arbitrary yet destructive grasp of the super-rich is to chop it off,
or possibly light it on fire. _ 

 , Photo: Fox Searchlight 

 

At first it seems like an unhappy coincidence, the way that Alex Le
Domas (Mark O’Brien) bears a slight resemblance to presidential
in-law Jared Kushner: pale, with over-coiffed hair, barely concealing
an expression of discomfort. (Not quite as striking as Kushner’s
resemblance to murderous boy-doll Brahms
[https://film.avclub.com/like-its-title-character-the-boy-can-t-live-up-to-the-1798186298],
but close enough.) Alex puts up a more convincingly affable front,
bantering with his bride-to-be Grace (Samara Weaving) on their wedding
day and grumbling apologetically about inflicting his lousy family on
her. But there’s clearly something sinister (or knowledge of same)
behind his worried eyes.

MOVIE REVIEW

[Lead]

B-

Ready Or Not

DIRECTORS

Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett

RUNTIME

95 minutes

RATING

R

LANGUAGE

English

CAST

Samara Weaving, Mark O'Brien, Adam Brody, Henry Czerny, Andie
MacDowell, Nicky Guadagni, Elyse Levesque, Kristian Bruun

AVAILABILITY

Theaters everywhere August 21

His family’s empire—or “dominion,” as he half-jokingly
corrects Grace—is not real estate but gaming. The Le Domas clan went
from printing playing cards to producing board games to owning sports
franchises, and their imperious old money is what Grace thinks
accounts for the scowling, unforgiving visages that surround her
before and during the wedding ceremony. Grace, for her part, is a
foster kid (though the movie doesn’t explain why she doesn’t
appear to have any friends), and eager to fit into Alex’s family,
even if they are a bunch of sour-faced rotters.

Grace’s longing for family makes her particularly amenable when Alex
explains one of his family’s stranger rituals: After the wedding,
held at the family estate, Grace must draw a card and play whatever
game is inscribed upon it. When she pulls hide and seek, Alex’s face
falls. As Grace gamely heads off to find a hiding spot, Alex watches
as his depressed lush of a brother, Daniel (Adam Brody), seemingly
approachable mother Becky (Andie MacDowell), and domineering father
Tony (Henry Czerny), along with the rest of the family, gather a
variety of weapons. They intend to hunt down their new in-law, wound
her, capture her, and perform a ritual killing that will supposedly
allow them to retain their wealth and power. At one point, one of the
characters lets loose a faux-deadpan cliché: “It’s true. The rich
are different.”

As a blackly comic satire of immoral one-percenters, _Ready Or
Not_ is not particularly insightful (another sample barb: “Fucking
rich people!”), and not especially witty. It’s the kind of genre
movie that seems to think that its characters sputtering out
profanities is, on some level, a transgressive act unto itself, and
that the gruesome slapstick of its death scenes are just crimson-hued
gravy. But the filmmakers do have a clever idea about how to level the
playing field when the hunt begins: The Le Domas family may be
wealthy, powerful, evil, and ruthless, but they are also pointedly,
sometimes fatally incompetent. This planned sacrifice is only an
occasional ritual, which means they’re rusty on the specifics.
Collectively, they spend a lot of time arguing over which rules of the
tradition are truly necessary (are only old-timey weapons allowable?
What about surveillance cameras?) and YouTubing instructional crossbow
videos.

[Illustration for article titled Ready Or Not, here comes an
entertainingly gruesome evisceration of the 1%]Set against the venal,
conniving family members, Weaving’s performance pops off the screen,
both charismatically and visually. Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and
Tyler Gillett light her co-stars’ faces to bring out shadows, while
Weaving’s big, expressive eyes and toothy smile look all the
brighter in contrast. The visual tricks complement her immediate
likability, which the movie avoids hardening into generic badass
posing. Early in the game, Grace catches sight of herself in the
mirror, still wearing her wedding dress but now armed with a shotgun,
a sash of ammo, and sneakers swapped in for heels. There’s a moment
where it seems like she’s going to regard her action-hero makeover
with pride, but she’s struck instead by the chilling absurdity of
her battle-ready image.

Her moment of hesitation lends some nuance to a movie that generally
hurtles forward, toward gory kills, near misses, and the inevitable
crossbow mishaps. Given the quick pace, it’s surprising to realize
that the filmmakers aren’t more eager to cut to elaborate chases.
The multi-room mansion_ _seems custom-built for set pieces, but while
there are a few memorably tense and/or gruesome sequences, _Ready Or
Not_ is both plottier and talkier than necessary. At least it looks
great: The colors and shadows of Brett Jutkiewicz’s cinematography
are rich and saturated, an uncommonly convincing digital imitation of
film.

It’s a little disconcerting that the film’s women have higher
instances of both caricature and punchline deaths than the men; the
one family member afforded some dimension and even pathos is the
sardonic, quietly despairing Daniel, well-played by Brody. The
charitable reading is that _Ready Or Not_ understands how moneyed
entitlement knows no gender—that the only way to break the arbitrary
yet destructive grasp of the super-rich is to chop it off, or possibly
light it on fire. So no, not a subtle movie. But a fairly satisfying
one.

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