I am sorry review – The Netflix thriller by Tyler Perry, “Mea Culpa”, becomes increasingly absurd.

Estimated read time 4 min read


There are a few small moments of enjoyable low-budget entertainment in Tyler Perry’s flashy and dramatic thriller Mea Culpa, some of which are intentional, but most are not. The movie centers around a character named Mea who is often portrayed as being at fault, which is a common theme in Perry’s work. The filmmaker has developed a reputation for being tough on his female characters, particularly when they challenge their husbands, regardless of how terrible their actions may be. This was evident in his poorly-received 2018 thriller Acrimony, where he controversially mistreated and scolded Taraji P Henson’s character.

The main focus of his attention is now directed towards a prominent lawyer portrayed by Kelly Rowland, who convincingly portrays a leading lady trapped in a disappointing marriage with a man who was fired from his job as an anesthetist for showing up to work under the influence of drugs and alcohol. She is also controlled by her despicable mother, played to exaggerated levels by Kerry O’Malley, who almost seemed capable of breathing fire. When Mea is asked to defend a lavish painter named Zayir (played by Trevante Rhodes, known for his role in “Moonlight”), who is accused of murdering his girlfriend, she initially declines due to the seemingly impossible nature of the case and the fact that her brother-in-law is the opposing lawyer. However, when her overbearing and cancer-stricken mother insists that she not take the case, Mea decides to rebel and ends up developing feelings for her client. This leads to some unconventional sexual encounters.

Perry seems to be targeting the flashy and popular films of the 80s and 90s, such as Jagged Edge and Basic Instinct. For those who enjoy this now-defunct subgenre, there is some initial nostalgic pleasure as we follow the familiar tropes (check out the Fatal Attraction-inspired freight elevator!). Rowland and Rhodes have fun with their seductive glances, and Surviving Remorse’s RonReaco Lee makes a brief appearance. Despite the low budget, Perry understands the appeal of watching attractive people in expensive clothes living in extravagant homes. However, Perry is no Joe Eszterhas – his script is clumsily put together and can easily crumble with the slightest touch. While Eszterhas may have lost his shine over time, he was an expert at crafting this type of pulp, with a smooth storytelling style and a knack for pushing all the right buttons. In contrast, Perry struggles to even reach the buttons, resulting in a poorly paced and confusingly plotted thriller.

The description of the plot suggests that the film is overloaded, with the actors struggling to deliver over-the-top dialogue and unnecessary busyness that detracts from the main focus. While it initially presents as an erotic thriller, it quickly becomes a slow relationship drama before finally reaching a confusing climax full of head-scratching twists that lack logical sense. Director Perry has a knack for surprise, as seen in the absurd ending of his previous Netflix film A Fall from Grace, which had to be re-edited due to numerous errors noticed by viewers. However, he falls short in providing explanations for these surprises. The final part of the film is filled with ridiculous plot twists and nonsensical revelations, causing me to constantly rewind to make sure I didn’t miss something (which I hadn’t). While the absurdity of it all can be entertaining, the film’s scattered nature and overly serious tone prevent it from fully embracing campiness.

During the past week, Perry shared that he made the decision to stop expanding his Atlanta studio after witnessing the capabilities of the controversial AI video generator Sora. The demonstration left him both surprised and impressed, and he also mentioned that he has already utilized AI in his recent films. If Mea Culpa is an example of what Perry can create without completely relying on machines, it’s concerning to think about the potential consequences of fully handing over control to AI.

  • The movie “Mea Culpa” can now be watched on Netflix.

Source: theguardian.com

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