Whilst the current landscape of American politics is translating overseas, in 1988, a huge political scandal in the States didn’t have that impact. Gary Hart hasn’t become a staple of our common knowledge. Political supporters aside, the most basic understanding of Hart’s campaign is that he had an affair with Donna Rice, which ruined his chance of becoming President of the United States. Jason Reitman takes us on an in-depth journey into the sudden downfall of Hart’s campaign.
The quest to find ones identity is thrusted upon Summer (Zoe Renee) and, as is usually the case, it’s a very difficult task for a 17 year old. Complicating matters further is her mother (Simone Missick), a divorced TV weather reporter, who converts to Islam. Continue reading
Suspiria is this year’s mother! The biggest difference is this reviewer loved mother! but can already feel this cluttered and hugely disappointing film disappearing from his memory. A huge waste of the plethora of talent on show, Supiria is a graceless but wildly ambitious misstep.
Once two overzealous cops get suspended from the force, they must delve into the criminal underworld to get their just due. Despite a synopsis that sounds pretty standard, this is anything but. Unafraid to show us totally different lives and stories without much context to begin with, Dragged Across Concrete plays the slow game with its build up towards its magnificent endgame. While we know everything will soon link up, there’s no rush in showing us how. There are a lot of moving parts within and while certain characters get more development, everyone is given just enough time to leave an impression as well as an impact on the narrative.
After a mental breakdown whilst presenting the weather on live TV after a bad break up, Sean (Matt Bomer) is told to take some time off. During this time, he hires Ernesto (Alejandro Patiño) for work labour, but soon begins to pay him to go on excursions and day trips he used to enjoy with his partner. Director John Butler has described Papi Chulo as a comedy about loneliness, but there’s a lot more hidden within the depths of this hugely enjoyable film.
Taking all the fears and anxieties that have come to the forefront in a post-Trump America, Assassination Nation tackles these head on at an unrelenting pace. Presenting us with a wildly unrealistic prospect that an entire town would want to kill four girls, it all sounds like the plot for the next entry in The Purge franchise. However, as the utter chaos unfold, it’s scary how we do start to believe in what’s unfolding and don’t even blink at some of the atrocities being performed.
After their teacher jumps out of a window during a lesson, a technically gifted class is given a new substitute teacher, Pierre Hoffman (Laurent Lafitte). As soon as Hoffman takes his first class, we know something is off about a handful of the kids. They’re arrogant and snarky but this doesn’t come across as annoying. Instead, it’s all rather unsettling. Is their behaviour down to what they witnessed, or something else?
This year’s Official Competition at London Film Festival has 10 unique project from all over the globe, and Shadow highlights the welcome diverse nature of films on offer this year. Set during China’s Three Kingdom’s era (AD 220-280), The King of Pei’s (Ryan Zheng) trusted Commander (Chao Deng) brings danger to the kingdom by challenging a rival ruler to a duel. However, under constant threat of assassination many nobles secretly employed surrogate men, known as shadows. Commander is one of these shadows, unbeknown to all but a select few.
Belarus’ first submission to the Academy Awards in 22 years follows a young DJ named Velya (Alina Nasibullina) who forges her US visa application but makes a typo with her fake employee’s phone number. Knowing the embassy will ring it and ruin her plans to escape her home, she tracks down the family whose number she put down and proceeds to spend a week there waiting for the phone call, disrupting the family’s wedding plans. What starts off rather promising soon turns into something rather limp and messy which is a shame as Alina Nasibullina’s performance deserves better.
Paul Dano’s directorial debut Wildlife is a contender in this years London Film Festival’s First Feature Competitionand follows the downfall of a marriage between Joe (Jake Gyllenhaal; Nightcrawler, End of Watch) and Jeanette (Carey Mulligan; Never Let Me Go) during the 1950’s. We see this mainly through they eyes of their teenage son, Joe (Ed Oxenbould; The Visit, Better Watch Out), who is caught in the middle and watch how he handles everything. The film is visually beautiful and slowly begins to unravel into something you are helpless to stop. Gyllenhaal knocks it out of the park once again but it’s Mulligan and Oxenbould who shine bright in a film that smartly never becomes as bleak as it’s subject matter.