Intriguing, artfully-directed, and well performed, Otto Priminger's Bunny Lake is Missing is a pronounced mystery and psychological thriller that would make Alfred Hitchcock proud. Bunny Lake is Missing tells the story of Ann Lake, an American woman who has just relocated to England. One day, Ann arrives at school to pick up her four-year-old daughter, Bunny, who is absolutely nowhere to be found. An investigator from Scotland yard, played brilliantly by Lawrence Olivier, is brought in to investigate, but the deeper he digs into the case the more confounded he becomes, unwilling to find any shred of evidence as to not only Bunny's disappearance but also whether she even existed in the first place. Otto Priminger's Bunny Lake is groundbreaking thriller which uses the primal emotions of maternity and a mother's love for her child to explore a woman in Ann Lake, who has slowly began to lose grip on the world around her. The performances all around really stand out, with Carol Lynley in particular delivering a powerful performance as a devastated mother. Lynley's performance certainly evokes the sense of grief associated with any mother who loses her child, but what I found so interesting are the more subtle aspects of her performance which are odd or oft-putting, quirks of this character which do make the audience somewhat question the overall mental heath of this woman. The narrative is never overtly obvious, doing a solid job at never tipping its hat to whether the young bunny is indeed missing or a figment of Ann's grief-ridden imagination, effectively keeping the viewer engaged and intrigued about the final outcome of this story. All of that being said, I'd truly argue that Otto Preminger's direction is what really carries this film, using impressionistic cinematography and lighting that evoke a sense of dread and despair, evoking the emotions of the stories main protagonist in a way that really tells the story visually. Otto Preminger's Bunny Lake is Missing is a groundbreaking psychological thriller, especially for its time, being an artfully directed film that is engaging from start to finish.
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