Filth (2013) Film Review

Lines of coke and moral lines have no meaning to dirty Edinburgh-based cop Bruce Robertson (McAvoy). Hard drinking, drug taking, and completely corrupt, Robertson will do whatever it takes to get the promotion to detective inspector. With his personal life in tatters, and his mind becoming increasingly warped, the chances of this new job role seem slim.

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Irvine Welsh had a lot to do with British cinema becoming more respected and less bland. In an industry dominated by smug London based love stories, Trainspotting arrived with Scottish infused dirt and anger. The drugs, the shitty toilets, and the lack of forward momentum were – ironically enough – refreshing cinema. Continue reading “Filth (2013) Film Review”

Boy A (2007) Film Review

Friends can lead you astray and pre-teen Eric learns this hard lesson when his mate Philip convinces him to murder a young girl. Both boys are put on trial and deemed innately evil and forced to spend their teen years in prison. Now aged 24, Eric has been released, given a new identity, and thrown back into society.

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Many viewers will see marked similarities in Boy A (2007) to the real-life case of two young British boys who took a little boy from a shopping mall. This realism lends a difficult moral tone to the film and it’s difficult to see if someone who committed such a horrible crime can ever be forgiven. Based on a novel by Jonathan Trigell, Boy A poses questions with no clear or definitive answer. Is a child truly to blame for his or her actions and can that child ever heal and experience redemption? Boy A never answers any questions definitively but it does challenge the notion that a child could be inherently evil. Continue reading “Boy A (2007) Film Review”

Big Bad Wolves (2013) Film Review

Moral lines are blurred in Big Bad Wolves, a tense Israeli thriller.

A series of child murders is blamed on Dror (Keinan), who is in turn stalked by homicide cop Miki (Ashkenazi), and then abducted by grieving father Gidi (Grad) who is in search of answers. All three end up in a rural basement where Gidi tortures Dror with increasing violence, and Miki begins to question Dror’s guilt.

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Big Bad Wolves (2013) is an Israeli film from directors Aharon Keshales and Avot Papushado. It’s their second film together and their first, Rabies, marked the pair as filmmakers with promise. Big Bad Wolves delivers on that promise and the film balances an interesting mismatch of genres – from horror to macabre comedy. The film is reminiscent of any number of revenge inspired thrillers (perhaps Prisoners is the best recent example) and it’s infused with a quick patter and retro-coloured visuals. Big Bad Wolves relies on subtext and within the Israeli context it has deeper and more prevalent allusions to the War on Terror and ideas of vengeance. There’s the implication that the torture techniques employed by the characters were learned in their conscripted military service. Continue reading “Big Bad Wolves (2013) Film Review”

Her (2013) Film Review

In a future not too dissimilar to now, a boy will meet a girl and fall in love. It’s not quite the age-old love story it seems however, and Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) falls for Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), an advanced computer operating system.

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Her (2013) is the latest film from filmmaker Spike Jonze and in many ways its characters are recognisable from the directors other work. Theodore is an unhappy middle-aged man, in a job he hates, and experiencing crippling loneliness. He inhabits a world of technologically connected people but is always alone. At work he writes letters and cards for other people and he knows a great deal about them but has never met them. It’s all a bit like the present day social media craze but it’s a hyper version of now. Continue reading “Her (2013) Film Review”

The Films of Richard Linklater

With the release of a new trailer and a rapidly approaching general release for Richard Linklater’s Boyhood it seems apt to have a look back at his varied and interesting career.

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Richard Linklater was part of an indie film making movement in the nineties and his films have portrayed the maligned and marginalised. He’s experimented with roto-scoping in both A Scanner Darkly and Waking Life and Linklater often pushes for intriguing narratives that question the contemporary condition. Continue reading “The Films of Richard Linklater”

TV You Should be Watching Right Now

I watch a lot of TV at the moment and there are some new shows on that I’ve been enjoying. There are also a number of great shows back with new seasons so I thought I’d write up some of what I’m watching.

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Mad Men

Mad Men’s back for its final season and it’s three episodes in. For those uninitiated or simply uninformed Mad Men charts the story of Don Draper, an advertising executive in New York in the sixties. It’s not just about Don however and the multiple interlocking characters and their lives make Mad Men a pretty compelling drama series. Continue reading “TV You Should be Watching Right Now”

The Patrol (2013) Film Review

The Patrol follows a small British Army unit on the frontlines in Afghanistan. Battling poor equipment, low morale, and an unseen enemy the men begin to fall apart from the pressures of an ill prepared military operation.

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Tom Petch directs the Patrol and it’s a thoughtful directorial debut. Set in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province in 2006, a British military unit is sent to the frontlines. The British Troops were sent out for what was supposed to be three days but after a special forces operation in the area disrupts the Taliban the soldiers are forced to stay indefinitely. Continue reading “The Patrol (2013) Film Review”

Nymphomaniac Volume 1&2 (2013) Film Review

When well-educated Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard) finds Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) beaten in an alley, he decides to take her in. They spend a long night together and Joe recounts her often-sordid life story. She focuses on her many sexual experiences and walks Seligman through her life, right up to the point he finds her in the alleyway.

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Lars Von Trier is a director that likes to shock. From the hideous handjob in Antichrist to the corruption of Billy Elliot in Nymphomanac, Von Trier has alienated audiences. Nymphomaniac is really no exception and fits pretty nicely into his European inspired art house output. Continue reading “Nymphomaniac Volume 1&2 (2013) Film Review”