Censor Movie Review
Censor is about a British film censor Enid who takes great pride in protecting audiences from the dangers of gory displays of violence, until a film that mirrors her past trauma sets her down a path of frightening discovery.
For audiences, the discovery may be the realization that Censor itself should be censored, not for violence or disturbing images but for the hollow feeling it leaves you with.
In her directorial debut, Prano Bailey-Bond demonstrates promise. Revolving around a hysterical time in the 1980s where video nasties were being blamed for society’s corruption--it’s a time period that precedes me, though is not dissimilar to the fears of violent video games in the 1990s--Bailey-Bond taps into a setting, environment, and premise that is rich with fruitful details. Colored with a gorgeous throwback aesthetic and hounded by an ambient score that elevates the material, there is a lot to like about Censor, at least at a superficial level.
And Niamh Algar, perhaps best known for though not recognizable as the female android in Raised by Wolves, delivers a devoted performance as Enid. Even though the story itself doesn’t entirely work, Algar elevates the material.
Sadly, the movie’s strengths don’t outweigh Censor’s deficiencies. Despite Bailey-Bond’s talented eye, Censor, at a brief 90 minutes, feels much longer. Enid’s arc is a grind and not particularly fascinating, the climax an underwhelming payoff for the brief bursts of violence scattered throughout. In the end, Censor offers a ho-hum experience; it’s pretty to look at, but there’s little to truly feast on.
This movie was reviewed as part of coverage of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.