The third feature from artist-turned-director Steve McQueen needs little introduction.
It’s a visceral, unpredictable tale of life as a slave in 1840s America, based on the true story of Solomon Northup (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who, as ever, disappears effortlessly into the demanding role), who was born a free man in New York.
Continue reading “LFF review: 12 Years a Slave”
The 57th BFI London Film Festival opened with this belter of a thriller, based on the real-life hijacking of a US container ship by Somali pirates in 2009.
Tom Hanks stars as Captain Richard Phillips, an American, whose job it is to steer the MV Maersk Alabama through the danger-filled Somali Basin to Mombasa, Kenya.
(watch out for spoilers below)
Continue reading “LFF review: Captain Phillips”
Warning: spoilers (as far as I can spoil the plot of a very famous 8-year-old book for you)
Ah. “We need to talk about Kevin.” The words that the eponymous Kevin (Ezra Miller/Jasper Newell/ Rocky Duer)’s mother Eva (Tilda Swinton) never manages to say to her sweet, blinkered husband Franklin (John C Reilly).
Lynne Ramsay‘s fine adaptation of the very unloveable 2003 novel dispenses with the epistolary form of the original, and is instead structured around Eva’s life post-massacre, with flashes of the past forcing continually pushing to the surface. Kevin’s actions have defined her current situation; the film shows us how.
Continue reading “LFF review: We Need to Talk about Kevin”
Artist/director Steve McQueen’s second feature (following 2008’s Hunger), follows the unravelling New York existence of sex addict Brandon (Michael Fassbender). Living alone, he (seemingly) happily picks up girls in bars, orders prostitutes like takeout and masturbates in the work loos after watching porn on his computer. It’s a tad compulsive, but his outward charm and ability to just about hold it together is keeping people fooled.
Then, his volatile, attention-seeking sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) turns up to stay in his apartment, and things slowly fall apart.
Continue reading “LFF review: Shame”
The 55th BFI London Film Festival opens tonight!
Oh. Fernando Meirelles. This is no City of God. This isn’t even Love Actually.
Continue reading “LFF opens with Fernando Meirelles’ 360”
Darren Aronofsky‘s Black Swan will screen tonight at the London Film Festival’s Jameson Gala. Starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis and Winona Ryder, this drama/horror is set in the physically and mentally demanding world of New York ballet.
Never thought that a film about ballet would have you on the edge of your seat? Think again. It’s less about ballet than about perfectionism, competition and control – the last word comes up again and again. Nina (Portman) is too controlled a dancer, says her over-attentive director, Tomas (Cassel), but, in fact, she is losing control of everything in her life.
Continue reading “LFF Preview: Black Swan”
The London Film Festival opens tonight with a screening of Never Let Me Go, an adaptation of the 2005 Kazuo Ishiguro novel, starring Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield. The screenplay was written by Alex Garland, and the movie directed by Mark (One Hour Photo) Romanek.
The story takes place in an alternate England, where medical research has solved most illnesses, and the average life expectancy has passed 100 years old by 1967.
These great developments have come about thanks to the National Donor Programme, where human clones – who cannot reproduce but do think, feel and age just like us – are brought up in institutions and taught to accept their futures as organ donors. They will give away parts of their body, one by one, until they “complete,” usually before the age of 30.
Kathy H, our 28-year-old narrator, is a carer watching a donor be put under for his operation. She starts to reminisce about her time at boarding school – a place called Hailsham – and about her time growing up with her friends Tommy and Ruth.
Warning: spoilers ahead
Continue reading “The London Film Festival opens tonight with Never Let Me Go”