thu 18/07/2024

Medusa Deluxe review - combing for clues in a stylish murder mystery | reviews, news & interviews

Medusa Deluxe review - combing for clues in a stylish murder mystery

Medusa Deluxe review - combing for clues in a stylish murder mystery

Thomas Hardiman's debut feature goes underground in the world of competition hairdressing

'The big-hair sculptures nearly steal the movie'

Medusa is having a moment. From Natalie Haynes’ feminist novel to the recent Brazilian horror movie, the beleaguered, beheaded, snake-haired monstress of Greek myth rises again, and again, as a symbol of female rage and resistance.

Now comes Medusa Deluxe, a stylish, comedic murder mystery set at a hairdressing competition. Keep a close eye on those scissors: the struggle to control hair (real and fake), “the crown you never take off”, has already turned deadly as the film begins.

Though one of the top contenders, the never-seen Mosca, has turned up dead – scalped! – at his stylist’s chair, rival hairdressers betray no fear. Rather, they fume at being kept waiting by the police and press on with their tonsorial creations. Gossip reveals that sly Kendra (Harriet Webb) may have been plotting to steal the championship, an underhand move that enrages perennial also-ran Cleve (Clare Perkins), whose big ideas and big-hair sculptures nearly steal the movie. Hair models Inez (Kae Alexander) and Timba (Anita Joy Uwajeh), the wearer of the impressive Medusa ‘do, cannot resist sleuthing on their own, tailing a sinister security guard (Heider Ali), who knows more than he lets on.

Thomas Hardiman, in his first feature, partners with ace cinematographer Robbie Ryan (The Favourite), letting the camera snake through the labyrinthine hallways of the competition hall. The players are locked in, literally and figuratively, to this fuchsia and neon-green world. Time and space are compressed: Medusa Deluxe appears to unfold in one take (editor Fouad Gaber deftly conceals the snips). But when Mosca’s weeping partner (Luke Pasquelino) and baby arrive, the film shakes out its curls and reveals undertones of grief and real peril. For a brief, unsettling moment, models and stylists ponder the mirrors that surround them, and us. Reflection is as dangerous as a sharp pair of shears.

The players are locked in, literally and figuratively, to this fuchsia and neon-green world

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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