Sundance Film Festival: ‘Superior’ Review

By: Amanda Guarragi

Superior written and directed by Erin Vassilopoulos feels like a retro action thriller. The beginning of the film puts you right in the middle of the action and instantly sets the tone for the rest of the film. Vassilopoulos has a distinct style that she presents in this film and it works for the characters. When Mariane (Alessandra Mesa), runs away from her problems to her childhood house, he is greeted by her estranged sister. Vivian (Ani Mesa) is a stay-at-home housewife struggling in all aspects of her marriage.

The production design for the childhood home works well to accommodate who Vivian is. Once Mariane enters the home and lives there for a couple of days, the perfection of the home slowly slips away, as Mariane influences Vivian. In a way, Vivian needed her sister, just as much as Mariane needed her. Even though they are identical twins, the are complete opposites and this is what made their character development interesting. They had learned a bit from each other, especially Vivian to circle back to her former identity.

The film definitely has flare and Vassilopoulos focused on making it look aesthetically pleasing. She made some great choices with certain scenes and that’s why this stood out. However, the film suffered structurally, as the pacing was off in the second half of the film. Once they switched lives for the day, Vivian’s experience as Mariane was new for her and it was more of an exploration of who she could be. Switching lives felt more like freedom for Vivian than it did for Mariane. The second half did drag a bit but that ending was so interesting!

Superior is a highly stylized thriller that shows the struggle of personal identity and a loss of self. What the Mesa twins do so well is play off of each other and create such an intimate bond between these characters. Even though they hadn’t seen each other in years, they fall right back into step and instantly understand what the other is going through. It’s an interesting watch with great performances and a soundtrack that created a solid vibe for the film.

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