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One actor, one place – and one monolith. Questions? But you may have a couple by the end of Aussie actress Lily Sullivan’s new film. However… maybe that’s the point. In this modern era of cinema, it’s not exactly a requirement for movies to neatly tie up all their loose ends by the conclusion.

Yes, occasionally it is but for a film like Monolith which is a psychological thriller, we are possibly more interested in how it was acted out and the thrills that come with it. After all, both these aspects are necessary if you plan on only revealing one performer in one place i.e., her character’s secreted home located far from other people’s reach. That is just what Australian filmmaker Matt Vesely does, to thrilling effect. Not everyone would love this especially those who prefer bigger-scale endeavors like Dune: Part Two perhaps. But we were game, and Monolith even sets up the potential for a follow-up installment down the line. Who knows?

In Evil Dead Rise (2023), Lily Sullivan nailed an American accent alongside Sam Raimi as they teamed up yet again for another blood-soaked franchise hit movie. With Monolith, there are indeed some gritty moments to come along the lines of Evil Dead vibes but this time around it’s much more sterile and psychologically centered project that gives an Australian performer using her natural accent space to develop as an actor further than she has before now.. One might also see her latest movie adapted into a stage performance as a one-woman show someday.

It’s true – Sullivan is alone on screen throughout Monolith. That hardly ruins any surprises if you’ve already read about its buzz or seen the promotional trailer for this film anyway. The “claustrophobic” label has been attached to this flick although compared to Die Hard and even Amazon Prime Video’s Trunk – Locked In feel quite congested if truth be told about such films. Monolith however has a little more “elbow room” since the interviewer of Sullivan’s podcaster (known only as “The Interviewer” and who never discloses her own identity, to arresting as well as chill-inducing effect) dwells in a nice contemporary home that makes the average movie viewer quite envious, like “I want to live there!”

How did she obtain such a high-falutin residence? Well, we don’t learn so much about her background even by the end but it is established early on that she used to be a successful journalist who torpedoed herself by becoming too slanted. Now, disgraced could be a good word for her Interviewer character.

So what does someone do with this kind of talent? Podcasts maybe? If only there were more of them. LOL! Just kidding though. Sullivan’s character tries her hand with a “Beyond Believable” podcast which attempts to trace some of the hottest unsolved mysteries out there. Subsequently, she begins reading about different terrans from all parts of our planet each having seen an odd black slate just materializing before their eyes. From here on, anyone who has previously watched 2001: A Space Odyssey–the legendary science fiction classic–might wonder what late great Stanley Kubrick would think about this device…

It will be unfair to you if I start by unveiling subsequent shocks; this is because I’d like to take you on a roller coaster ride for one and a half hours. For example, when The Interviewer (Sullivan) receives a parcel with a video footage of her childhood self. Wait! What? Lets follow the white rabbit role as she begins to figure out where those other strange things are appearing and how they relate to each other.

She says, “We have an obligation to protect society.” And rightly so but at what cost? Bring cigarettes for this woman who keeps smoking them ceaselessly as she looks back into her past mistakes and thinks about how it has all come down to this fit of mass hysteria. After all, just like Jake Gyllenhaal’s character becomes the story in Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler, Sullivan’s protagonist does become the monolith.

Family secrets come out and watch out for third acts that would make Alex Garland proud—the guy behind mind-bending movies such as Annihilation or Ex Machina. Of course, it is narrow-minded given its close premises but kudos to Lily Sullivan who delivers completely in her performance as an indecisive journalist within herself. Also contributing is Lucy Campbell (The Big Nothing)’s layered script which helps introduce us first of all some supernatural world but also one that could resonate with every ambitious podcaster – since there came hit podcasts such as Serial and Dr Death.

This doesn’t only call filmmakers like Kubrick and Garland but also watch out for Shakespearean references here too. We want another view after writing this eerie little featurette. Try watching at least once.

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