Don’t Worry Darling

15 4K UHD, Blu-ray, DVD

When you put a group of people together, and expect them to work in close quarters for long hours at a time, usually one of two things can happen; a level of intimacy can grow which can lead to tension in the work place, or a growing sense of being annoyed coming from spending far too much time in certain company.

It transpires that both took place on the set of Olivia Wilde’s follow-up to her hugely enjoyable directorial debut Booksmart.

boom reviews Don’t Worry Darling
That's right, i've always preferred Take That.

Living in a pleasant cul-de-sac in a fifties development built in the desert are Alice (Florence Pugh) and Jack (Harry Styles).

It’s an experimental town, called Victory, that’s been created by Frank (Chris Pine), that sees all the men go off to work every day at the same time, leaving their wives behind to enjoy various activities such as dance classes.

The women don’t know exactly what their husbands do for a living, only that it’s been described as the ‘development of progressive materials’; still, as long as it doesn’t interfere with their activities, they don’t really care. Except one.

Curiosity gets the better of Alice, as she finds herself staying on the bus into town a little longer, and witnessing a plane crash. She decides to go and check it out, only to discover Victory HQ. It’s there where she starts to think that life in their little community isn’t all it seems, as she begins to wonder what the true purpose of Victory really is.

boom reviews Don’t Worry Darling
This is the oddest Chinese cookie message ever - "Don't trust Olivia?!...

It’s unfortunate that to coincide with the release of this film, a large amount of gossip leaked about certain shenanigans that allegedly took place on set. Much of it was focused on an obvious relationship that developed between Styles and Wilde, which caused disruption to filming, which did not go down well with Pugh, understandably.

And although it’s not exactly professional, it does highlight the usual Hollywood hypocrisy; you can guarantee that if this was an incident between a male director and a female star, nothing would have been made of it.

Unfortunately this press marred the release of the film to a certain extent. But at the same time, the old adage of there’s no such thing as bad press may also ring true, as it didn’t do too badly at the box office, as it was made for $35 million and made over $86 million in return, which isn’t too shabby for a film of this ilk.

Certainly a development in Wilde’s ability as a director is obvious, with the overall look and feel of the film really impressive. The fifties setting is stunning, and really sets a mood for an intriguing story.

And yes the story is intriguing, with a definite vibe of a Jordan Peele story to it, focusing as it does on a character having to get to the bottom of some strange goings on in their community. It’s not terribly original, even having slight echoes of something like TV’s The Prisoner, but Wilde keeps things visually interesting to hold your attention.

It might also be an indication of how good an actress Pugh is, as the off set antics of her co-stars (as Wilde also appears in the film) doesn’t appear to have affected her performance.

And the ex One Direction-er doesn’t do a bad job in one of his first leading roles either, but then again the director was very hands on (allegedly), so what do you expect.

It is a film that could be described as an essay on the evils of misogyny, ironically enough off set as well as on, but as far as the story itself is concerned, it could have done with some fine tuning; it’s the cinematic equivalent of an itch you can’t scratch, just when you think you’re getting close, it then slips from your grasp.

Still, it shows that despite all the on-set palaver – which is by no means an isolated case in Hollywood – the results can still end up being interesting. It is the type of film however, that you can walk away from and believe that with a little bit more focus in the right direction, as it were, Wilde and her crew could have been onto something with a lot more substance.

we give this three out of five