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'One & Two' squanders intriguing concept

'One & Two' squanders intriguing concept
A scene fromAndrew Droz Palermo's "One & Two." (IFC Films)

An unusual slice-of-life study, Andrew Droz Palermo's "One & Two" starts with an intriguing concept: Combine the kind of sheltered family story seen in "The Village" or "Dogtooth" with a hint of the supernatural.

This film focuses on the relationship between siblings Eva (Kiernan Shipka, Sally Draper on "Mad Men") and Zach (Timothée Chalamet), who are gifted with mysterious powers but trapped within their family's rural farm.

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Growing up isolated with their gruff father, Daniel (Grant Bowler), and sweet, sickly mother, Elizabeth (Elizabeth Reaser), the teens long for freedom but don't even really know what exactly that might entail. There's a moment early on where Elizabeth shows Eva a trick for calming a chicken, covering its head with its wing and spinning it around. In response to the sensory deprivation and disorientation, the chicken simply falls asleep — an apt metaphor for the ways in which Daniel has deprived and disoriented his family.

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The film's supernatural element — though beautifully rendered in wisps of smoke that fit with the natural setting — is not fully realized. It's simply the inciting incident for conflict, and the repercussions from it make up the story.

Gorgeous and naturalistic shots by cinematographer by Autumn Durald speak volumes, and the atonal, foreboding score by Nathan Halpern creates a sense of dread, though they are ultimately squandered in an underdeveloped story.

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'One & Two'

No MPAA rating.

Running time: 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood.

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