film reel image

film reel image

Thursday, October 12, 2023

The Mill 2023 * * * Stars


The mill in 2023's The Mill is a form of manual labor for a businessman trapped in a workplace prison cell. If said businessman can't push said mill in a circle enough times, he fails to make his emblematic quota and dies. Yup, I couldn't make this up if I tried. I mean what sicko would put a dude through this torture when his wife is at home pregnant? Yeesh.

Anyway, The Mill is indeed a demented and often psychologically bruising thriller. Why? Because it takes hostile work environment to an almost figurative level (figuratively). "Mill's" director is Sean King O'Grady, a guy who obviously watched the first Saw from 2004 and Oldboy to fortify his surly, captor vision.

Providing lessened gore but fashioning enough black hat remorselessness to make your blood curdle, O'Grady may not be the most stylish of helmers when it comes to placing the camera but his dustbowl look and eye-in-the-sky villainy make The Mill the scarring trainwreck to end all trainwrecks.

It's only in the last act when the twist comes that "Mill" loses a little dramatic momentum and becomes rooted in visual reality as opposed to well, actual physical existence. I mean just because a flick does a one-eighty doesn't mean it keeps the viewer fully engaged. If that were the case then everything released in theaters would be all things surprise, surprise!

The Mill stars Lil Rel Howery as trapped employee Joe and Pat Healy as Joe's would-be corporation boss. Howery overacts a bit but has enough discipline and foaming enthusiasm to carry "Mill" with aplomb. As for Healy, well he shows up near the end, basically doing what he does best which is 25-plus years of solid character actor stuff. They are both in a pic that substitutes psychosomatic horror for generalized empathy. Edge "mill".

Written by Jesse Burleson

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