Dredd deserves a better place in Alex Garland’s filmography

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On Friday, 51-year-old English writer-director. Alex GarlandNew film, Menopens in theaters. Garland is not a celebrity in your scale Martisyour Quentinsyour RRT. But for people obsessed with convoluted, uncomfortable, finely calibrated science fiction, Garland’s new project is a very big deal. Menabout a grieving widow stuck in some bucolic horror is already underway enthusiastically reviewed.

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I consider myself the Head of the Garland. I fell in love with him after 2007 sunlight, a much underrated Danny Boyle film about a group of doomed astronauts (they must destroy the sun!), for which Garland wrote the screenplay. I thought I saw everything he ever did; I even read some of his works. But just last week, while browsing his Wikipedia article (classic Garland Head activity), I found out I had missed Dredd. Screen adaptation of the 2012 cult comic. 2000 AD was produced and written not only by Garland – according to its star Karl Urban, Garland also took over as director by Pete Travis. In the years immediately after DreddGarland has established himself as one of our greatest working directors with his (official) debut From the carits continuation Annihilationand series Developers. Dredd is a high-profile comic book film that seems like a direct contrast to Garland’s subtle work, so it makes sense that the film is rarely mentioned when fans discuss his most forward-thinking projects. But as I found out this week during my first viewing Dredd– should be.

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The plot is thankfully simple: in a collapsing world, Dredd is a judge—essentially a state-sanctioned avenger. While on a road trip with psychic mutant rookie Judge (played by Olivia Thirlby), he becomes trapped in a huge apartment building by a team called the Ma Ma Clan. Judges have to kill quite a lot to survive. all: Violence starts immediately and never stops. Brains shattered, heads melted, bullets pierce cheeks. Blood, guts, and body parts splatter wonderfully, kaleidoscopically. Garland said in an interview that he inspired by high speed nature documentaries: “Can you turn violence into something purely aesthetic? Can it be so abstract as to be truly beautiful? I say this in all sincerity: you can really say that this violence was created by someone who cares.

This commitment to material is the creation Dredd the best version of yourself is shining everywhere. Domhall Gleason, future star From the car, serves up a wonderfully twisted version of the cliché “Tech guy reluctantly hired by bad people.” The dialogue is solid, definitely cartoonish, but there’s also a quick riff about us all being meat in a giant meat grinder and the Judges just spinning the giant knobs of this giant meat grinder, which is grotesquely interesting. Despite the grandiose and bloody trappings, the story revolves around the relationship between Dredd of Urbana and newcomer Judge of Thirlby. It feels really human.

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And if there is one undeniably elite element Dredd, it’s drugs. The Ma Ma clan makes money by producing a drug called Slo-Mo. You take it through an inhaler; it slows down life everything is fine. Whenever a character indulges in a Slo-Mo inhaler, we see how the gloomy world is transformed. Garland worked closely with VFX supervisor John Tam to achieve the desired effect. He said that they worked on it until the very end of post-production to understand “How far can you pull the viewer into a strange hallucinatory space…how far can you get to trip.” Slo-Mo does what any good movie fake drug should do, which is to make you want to try it in real life.

The question is Dredd should “be considered” an official film directed by Garland is hard to answer. When Los Angeles Times first reported that Garland had taken over production midway through production, Garland and Travis responded with a joint statement/attempt at reconciliation: “From the beginning, we decided to create an unorthodox collaboration to make the film. This situation has been misinterpreted.” Los Angeles Times also quoted a source saying that while Travis “is no longer in post-production, he is monitoring progress via the internet.”

We don’t know why Travis got kicked out, we don’t know what happened on set and in the editing rooms. Did Garland’s vision win? Or was Garland just the guy who brought the production to a close? What we know: It wasn’t just Garland’s paycheck; he grew up on the character of Judge Dredd. Many of the films for which he is now known are foreshadowed by his gory footage. The way he builds entire surreal worlds around just a handful of characters was in Dredd. The way he works with relatively small budgets to make weird, cute, creepy images – that was in Dredd too much. Like a garland said WIRED around the time Dreddrelease, he always practically thinks about how to maximize his options: “I’ve been in film long enough to know…you don’t bother writing a big crazy shot because you can never do it. . Instead, give us a weird, trippy injection – come up with some kind of medicine that will help you!”

Garland himself doesn’t seem to care if he gets credit. But the slot Dredd as part of his directorial canon, it seems, at least as an exercise for cinephiles, to make sense. If you want to better understand the oblique social commentary of Garland’s great arthouse sci-fi, you can’t hurt to watch Judge Dredd grind up a whole bunch of skulls.


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