Reviews / 30.09.2021

Trigger warning: this review discusses topics including suicide, depression, and self-harm. Book adaptations are a tricky beast to conquer. Stick too closely to the source material and you run the risk of presenting something that feels like little more than a narration of the text. Stray too far from what came before and you're likely to frustrate those expecting a faithful interpretation. Writer-director Michael McGowan's adaptation of Miriam Toews' semi-autobiographical 2014 novel All My Puny Sorrows falls into the former in a film that feels more literary than cinematic. For...

Reviews / 22.09.2021

A harrowing portrait of exploitation and systemic corruption and a gripping tale of morality, co-writer-director Alexandre Moratto's 7 Prisoners is tense and disturbing but so urgent and necessary. Moratto crafts an unflinching insight into the world of human trafficking and fuses it with a coming-of-age narrative where moral dilemmas abound at every turn. It's still early days, but we may have found Brazil's deserving submission for Best International Feature Film at this year's Academy Awards. Set in present-day São Paulo, 7 Prisoners centres on 18-year-old Mateus (a terrific Christian...

Reviews / 22.09.2021

When American filmmakers get their hands on the rights to remake an international feature film, we're generally served something that's little more than a carbon copy of its predecessor. If you've never seen the original, that's perfectly fine. But if you're familiar with what came before, it's the worst example of cinematic déjà vu. Such is the case with Antoine Fuqua's The Guilty, an almost beat for beat remake of Gustav Möller’s 2018 Danish film of the same name. For those terrified of subtitles and without any previous knowledge...

Reviews / 12.09.2021

As an ardent fan of Riz Ahmed of more than 15 years, the rave response to his revelatory performance in 2020's Sound of Metal was something I felt was long overdue. For more than a decade, Ahmed has been a consistently underrated performer in films like Four Lions, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and Nightcrawler. After his first Oscar nomination last year, the film industry finally appears to be paying attention. As such, it should come as no surprise to learn Ahmed delivers another mesmerising turn in co-writer-director Michael Pearce's...

Reviews / 10.09.2021

Inspired by Danish author Maria Bregendahl's breakthrough macabre 1914 novel A Night of Death (En dødsnat), writer-director Tea Lindeburg delivers a quietly intoxicating debut feature with As in Heaven (Du som er i himlen). A tragic portrait of female oppression and the potential perils of religious beliefs, it's compelling, haunting, and hard to shake from your mind. The film centres on Lise (a terrific Flora Ofelia Hofmann Lindahl), the eldest daughter of a farming family in rural Denmark who is preparing to leave the farm to attend school. While her...

Awards Season, Reviews / 08.12.2019

You're likely assuming you need to be fairly religious to find any pleasure in a film entitled The Two Popes. Of course, those who trundle off to church every Sunday will likely connect with this film on an entirely different level. However, speaking as someone who hasn't paid any attention to religion since mandatory scripture lessons at the age of seven, it's rather unfathomable that I found such tremendous joy within this surprisingly humorous and giddily enjoyable little gem. With one of the year's finest screenplays and starring two...

Awards Season, Reviews / 13.11.2019

After taking a "divisive" plunge into the Star Wars universe, writer/director Rian Johnson returns to what he does best; richly engaging original cinema, loaded with a whole swag of killer twists to knock you off your feet. With Johnson's own fresh take on the well-worn whodunnit murder mystery genre, the deliciously enjoyable Knives Out is one of the most outrageously entertaining experiences you will have in a cinema this year. With a phenomenal ensemble cast, a pointedly sharp screenplay, and an ingeniously twisty narrative, Knives Out is just good old-fashioned solid...

Awards Season, Reviews / 11.11.2019

Standing as one of the year's more misleading titles, Ford v Ferrari is far from the film you may be expecting. Sure, the inherent plot is the true-life battle of America's mighty Ford Motor Co. versus the Italian goliath of sportscar racing. But at the very heart of this film is an endearing and wildly entertaining tale of the two men behind the machines, played with terrific gusto by two of the best in the game. With plenty of technical motor racing jargon and several exhilarating race sequences, there's...

Awards Season, Reviews / 03.11.2019

Since that fateful September day in 2001, American cinema has offered numerous tales from the months and years following the events of 9/11. Just last year, Adam McKay delivered a divisive portrait of the mastermind of the post-9/11 war effort in Vice. With a narrative flirting on humanising someone many consider a war criminal, it left some with a sour taste in their mouths. How refreshing to have something like The Report come along at just the right time to provide the perfect sobering antidote. A slow-moving yet utterly...

Awards Season, Reviews / 04.10.2019

In all honesty, the sales pitch for The Aeronauts doesn't sound all that particularly enticing. Witness the daring 19th-century adventure of a mismatched British scientist and pilot, as they head off in a hot-air balloon to learn about weather prediction and break the world record for flight altitude. Sounds enthralling, right? But hold your horses. This impeccably crafted and surprisingly thrilling little gem is ultimately one of the year's biggest surprise packages. The reteaming of The Theory of Everything duo Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones proves the first time...