Where the Crawdads Sing is a largely dull misfire that had potential to be a breath of fresh air in the cinematic landscape.
Written by Jack Ransom / July 28, 2022
Based on the popular best selling book of the same name. Where the Crawdads Sing sees a woman (Daisy Edgar-Jones) who raised herself in the marshes of the deep South becomes a suspect in the murder of a man (Harris Dickinson) she was once involved with.
After an interest sparking trailer and the prospect of a mature focused romance inflicted murder investigation drama releasing on the big screen, I had a fair amount of anticipation for Where the Crawdads Sing. Some suitably well captured location cinematography and a couple of likeable characters aside. Unfortunately it pains me to say that this anticipation was squandered and instead what is on display here is a largely plodding, cheesy and clunky affair that lacks any genuine thrills or intrigue surrounding its mystery and utterly paper thin romantic chemistry.
Now, I haven’t read the novel so I had no prior knowledge of its reveals or how faithful this feature is an adaptation. I can only imagine it is probably better than what is on display here. The film quickly falls into a simplistically strenuous routine as we cut between Kya’s (Edgar-Jones) trial and the past events that led up to it. There’s simply just no urgency to anything on display and the trial lacks any intensity or investment whatsoever (with a laughable inclusion of the jury audibly gasping at every piece of key evidence). In terms of the romance thread it is incredibly cheesy and cliche, with the screenplay hindering any sense of chemistry between the performers.
The scenic imagery and lush marsh, lakes and rivers are captured effectively, especially with utilisation of natural sunlight. Kya’s home is meticulously detailed and you certainly get an effective homely sense of her personality. Unfortunately there is some incredibly noticeable CGI birds and a hilarious shot of Kya in the finale montage that is akin to that monstrous finale shot of Tom Holland in Cherry with the moustache.
The cast are clearly on board with the material, it’s just a shame that the screenplay is a tonal mess that is caught between wanting to be a schmaltzy romance, as well as a dark crime mystery. Daisy Edgar-Jones is fine, she captures Kya’s anxiety and shyness well enough… but honestly not to the point where she would be a complete social outcast, and the chemistry she and Harris Dickinson & Taylor John Smith is wooden to say the least. David Strathairn’s lawyer has probably the quickest change of character heart I’ve ever seen, though he, along with Michael Hyatt & Sterling Macer Jr. are the only characters to bring a sense of likability to the proceedings.
Where the Crawdads Sing is a largely dull misfire that had potential to be a breath of fresh air in the cinematic landscape alongside features such as Nitram and Brian and Charles. Unfortunately it is bogged down by dragging pacing, an un-engaging mystery and weak romances. The locations are nice to look at and the supporting performances are better than the leads, but this is a forgettable affair overall.