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'Deceit' aka 'Where is Kyra?' (2017) – Andrew Dosunmu.

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  • 'Deceit' aka 'Where is Kyra?' (2017) – Andrew Dosunmu.

    Andrew Dosunmu's devastatingly downbeat, unnervingly unsentimental 'Deceit' aka 'Where is Kyra' is stylistically, visually, and emotionally blackened melodrama, almost stifling in its uncommonly frank depictions of crushing existential despair. A melancholy, middle-aged woman Kyra (Michelle Pfeiffer) succumbs to depression with an alarming rapidity after her terminally ailing, greatly beloved mother dies. Consumed by grief, debilitated by anxiety, crippled by mounting debt, frustratingly unable to find regular employment, wholly alone, Kyra fatefully makes a monumentally poor decision that will severely compromise her life.

    Observing this desperately fragile, disenfranchised, increasingly needful human being so pitilessly disassembled by the ill tempered hand of fate is uneasy viewing, and for all its aesthetic flair, there's an ugly, brutalist reality to Kyra's relatable misfortune. Quite unexpectedly, the film's languorous pace has a stark, mesmeric quality, you don't really want to see how bad it gets, but you just can't turn away. Michelle Pfeiffer's livid angst is distressingly convincing, the desperation deeply etched into her iconically beautiful visage heartbreaking to behold. Even her fledgling relationship with fellow sufferer Doug (Kiefer Sutherland) ultimately offering her little succour. There's no catharsis, no final act redemption, and no karmic repayment for good deeds done, Kyra is just another unfortunate soul smothered beneath the murderous gravity of capitalism. While I can readily appreciate that the unleavened gloom of 'Where is Kyra?' may not be a universally appealing prospect, Pfeiffer's bravura performance got me where it hurts, and that happens all too rarely these days.

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