The Godfather and Annie Hall cinematographer Gordon Willis was often referred to affectionately as the “Prince of Darkness,” for the striking compositions he created using as little light as possible. Bradford Young gives him a run for his money in Andrew Dosunmu’s dark-in-every-sense-of-the-word Where Is Kyra? Kyra (Michelle Pfieffer) is an unemployed divorcee who pounds the pavement of Brooklyn applying for increasingly demeaning jobs, all the while taking care of her dying mother Ruth (Suzanne Shepherd).
Things go from bleak to worse for Kyra when Ruth dies, and even the emotional support of hunky taxi driver and part-time nursing home employee Doug (Kiefer Sutherland) doesn’t keep Kyra from spiraling into panic and desperation. In addition to living in a world in which little light gets in despite the cracks in everything, Kyra in particular is seldom classically positioned in the frame — in recent years, only Mr. Robot has been so dedicated to banishing characters to the corner of the screen. The soundtrack also occasionally breaks into needle-pinning industrial squalls, especially when Dosunmu occasionally cuts to a wraithlike old woman making her way through the city. A sort of Blue Jasmine by a director who actually understands how human beings behave, Where is Kyra? isn’t an easy film to watch, but it’s even harder to look away from.
Where Is Kyra?
Opens Friday at the Opera Plaza Cinema.