Wyndham Hacket Pain

Wyndham Hacket Pain

Wyndham is a freelance film critic and former Editor-in-Chief of Pi Magazine. He has previously been involved in film festival curation and independent short films.

Donbass DVD Review: fear and loathing in Ukraine

Donbass DVD Review: fear and loathing in Ukraine

★★★★☆ Rarely has a nation been depicted with as much horror as the civil war torn Ukraine of director Sergei Loznista’s Donbass. The film is built around thirteen loosely connected vignettes that explore the mid-2010s conflict between Ukraine and the Russian backed Donetsk People’s Republic. The result is a chaotic and...

Sometimes Always Never: Triple Word Score

Sometimes Always Never: Triple Word Score

★★★★☆ Bill Nighy is left piecing together the mysteries of his son’s disappearance in British Scrabble comedy Sometimes Always Never. Board games are rarely a source of huge excitement but first time director Carl Hunter finds humour and emotional pain in this offbeat and surprising comic drama. Nighy’s characteristic deadpan delivery...

Loro: Bunga bungargh

Loro: Bunga bungargh

★★☆☆☆ Italian director Paolo Sorrentino charts the dealings and plotting of Italian businessman and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in his latest film Loro. The film begins not with the notorious politician but with the young and self-assured Sergio Morra (Riccardo Scamarcio), who traffics escorts and bribes politicians in the small...

Being Frank – The man behind the mask

★★★☆☆ The career of one of British music’s great eccentrics is affectionately told in Steve Sullivan’s documentary Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story. The film chronicles the life of Chris Sievey, a musician who took many guises between the early 1970s and his death in 2010. Sievey’s work was full on...

Film Review: Girl

Film Review: Girl

Rarely has a foreign language film created as much debate and controversy as director Lukas Dhont’s Girl. The film follows Lara (Victor Polster) a 15-year-old transgender girl who dreams of being a professional ballerina. She attends a prestigious Dutch dance school where her classmates are hostile towards her and who are at...

Film Review: Everybody Knows

Film Review: Everybody Knows

Secrets and lies are brought to the surface in director Asghar Farhadi’s film of a family wedding struck by tragedy. Taking place in a small Spanish town, rather than the director’s native Iran, Everybody Knows begins with Laura (Penélope Cruz) returning home following years spent in Argentina. Her teenage daughter Irene...

Film Review: Vice

Film Review: Vice

Vice opens not in an office of government but with the sight of a young Dick Cheney being called over by the police for drink driving. Having already dropped out of Yale, he spent most of his early twenties drinking and working as an electricity maintenance worker. Fearful that his...

Film Review: Beautiful Boy

Film Review: Beautiful Boy

Beautiful Boy is an affecting drama about a father coping with his son’s drug addiction that is equally intriguing as it is frustrating. It stars Steve Carrell as David Sheff, a successful journalist living in rural California. His son Nic (Timothée Chalamet) is a seemingly normal teenager who is getting ready to go to university but...

Film Review: Stan and Ollie

Stan Laurel and Ollie Hardy had been performing together for almost 30 years when they arrived in the UK in 1954 for a theatre tour. Their glory days were clearly behind them but they put on a string of admirable performances despite their advanced years and failing health. They may...

Film Review: The Old Man & The Gun

Film Review: The Old Man & The Gun

Adapted from The New Yorker article of the same name, The Old Man & the Gun tells the mostly true story of a serial bank robber who even in his 70s couldn’t resist the thrill of his next heist. Following a miraculous escape from San Quentin prison, Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford) begins a string...

Film Review: The Workshop

Film Review: The Workshop

A decade after winning the Palme d’Or for his film The Class, director Laurent Cantet brings us apolitically engaged look at France’s disenfranchised youth. Set in the coastal town of La Ciotat – the place where the Lumière brothers filmed a moving train and invented cinema – The Workshop centres around a summer writing class. It is led...

Film Review: Peterloo

The Peterloo Massacre may be a strangely overlooked event within British history, but there is something undeniably timely about the episode and Mike Leigh’s adaptation of it. Peterloo charts the period between the Battle of Waterloo and the Peterloo Massacre that took place in Manchester four years later. On 16th August 1819, an estimated 60,000 people gathered in St Peter’s Field, Manchester...

Film Review: Halloween

The Halloween franchise has taken many forms since the first film was released in 1978. In the subsequent years there have been no fewer than seven sequels, two reboots, several novels, and a series of comics. Rather than tangling itself in the franchise’s messy back catalogue, director David Gordon Green pretends that...

Film Review: Columbus

In real life Columbus, Indiana is a rather unassuming small city located in the American heart land. With a population of around 50,000 people it would be easy to overlook Columbus in favour of the larger and more recognisable cities that can be found not too far away. Academic turned filmmaker Kogonada’s debut film...

Film Review: Faces Places

Faces Places has a brilliantly simple premise. The film follows photographer JR and legendary film director Agnès Varda as they travel to small French towns and photograph the people they find there. The photos they take are in turn used to create large murals which are plastered onto nearby buildings. Through doing this JR and Varda speak to...

Film Review: Lucky

After decades spent in mostly supporting roles, legendry American actor Harry Dean Stanton reminds us of his talents in the low-key but thoughtful Lucky. 30 years on from Paris, Texas, which propelled Stanton to fame, he once again finds himself in the American desert in his final screen role before his death...

Film Review: American Animals

From the beginning of American Animals, which opens to the sound of bird song and a quote from Charles Darwin, it is clear that it is interested in weightier themes than the average crime thriller. The film takes place in 2003 and is set in Lexington, Kentucky, where Spencer Reinhard (Barry Keoghan) is an art student. At the University...

Film Review: Yardie

Adapted from Victor Headley’s novel of the same name, Yardie is set predominately in the 1980s and opens in Jamaica. It is here that we find Dennis (Aml Ameen), a young man who runs errands for mob boss King Fox (Sheldon Shepherd). Dennis spends his days stumbling his way through...

Film Review: BlacKkKlansman

Whether it is the overtly racist Birth of a Nation – a film that President Woodrow Wilson screened at the White House – or Gone with the Wind which denies the truth about slavery,cinema for a long time failed in its depictions of race. 1989 was a monumental year on...

Film Review: The Escape

Film Review: Sicilian Ghost Story

Filmmakers have a strange habit of allowing the most horrific events to take place in the most beautiful of surroundings. This is most certainly the case with Sicilian Ghost Story, which is set in the woodlands and lakes that border one of the titular island’s small towns. The film centres...

Film Review: Tracking Edith

Film Review: Apostasy

Despite passing them on the street almost every day, I’ve rarely given Jehovah’s Witnesses much thought. It is easy to look past them and continue with your daily routine. In many respects, Apostasy, the debut feature from former Witness Daniel Kokoajilo, was the first time I had ever really thought about...

Film Review: The Bookshop

Film Review: Leave No Trace

There is something undeniably beautiful about the lush greenery that surrounds the Pacific Northwestern city of Portland. It is here in a large public park that Will (Ben Foster) and his teenage daughter Tom (Thomasin McKenzie) live. Will is a war veteran who tries to escape the pressures of modern...

Film Review: Studio 54

Film Review: A Ciambra

Three years after the release of his debut feature Mediterranea, Italian director Jonas Carpignanoreturns with his second film A Ciambra. The title refers to the region of Italy where the film is set. It is here that we find a community of Romanian gypsies who live on the periphery of...

Film Review: This is Congo

Film Review: This is Congo

At the beginning of This is Congo a solider says that according to God’s will growing up in the Congo is paradise, but according to man’s will it is misery. The Congo is indeed a beautiful country and this can clearly be seen in the luscious green landscapes of director...

Film Review: Jeune Femme

Film Review: Jeune Femme

Debuting at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, where first time director Léonor Serraille won the Camera d’Or prize, Jeune Femme is a restless look at the turbulent life of its protagonist Paula (Laetitia Dosch). She is struggling to come to terms with a break-up following a 10 year relationship with...

Film Review: On Chesil Beach

Film Review: On Chesil Beach

Adapted by Ian McEwan from his novel of the same name, On Chesil Beach follows newlyweds Florence (Saoirse Ronan) and Edward (Billy Howle) as they honeymoon on the English coast. It is rather drab by modern standards – the beach consisting mostly of pebbles and the hotel resembling something from Fawlty Towers...

Film Review: Breaking In

Film Review: Breaking In

After decades of male dominated action thrillers, both Breaking In and Revenge open this week with female leads. Whether this represents a wider shift within Hollywood is yet to be seen but the action heroics of Shaun Russell (Gabrielle Union) are refreshing and very welcome. Breaking In is set within...

Film Review: Lean on Pete

Film Review: Lean on Pete

Following the critical acclaim of Weekend and 45 Years, director Andrew Haigh returns with a naturalistic and tender tale of a boy’s connection with an ageing race horse. It is a revealing character study that is full of heartfelt and melancholic moments. Lean on Pete follows Charley (Charlie Plummer), a...

Film Review: The Wound

The annual ritual that represents the transition from childhood to adulthood within the Xhosa community in South Africa was a carefully kept secret until Nelson Mandela mentioned it in his autobiography 'Long Walk to Freedom'. Since them it has been a fiercely debated topic of controversy and is the focus...

Film Review: Never Steady, Never Still

Film Review: Let The Sunshine In

It is amusing to imagine if French director Claire Denis watches many of the American romantic comedies that we know all too well. Whether she does or not, her latest film, Let The Sunshine In, is a clever antidote to the clichés and indulgences that have come to define the...

Film Review: A Gentle Creature

Film Review: Western

In the couple years since Steven Spielberg professed that the western was dead, we have seen a mini revival in the genre. Whether it is The Hateful Eight, Hell or High Water, or even The Revenant a new generation of filmmakers have connected with this type of film. German director...

Film Review: Ghost Stories

Film Review: Wonderstruck

Playing out as a nostalgic fable and set predominately in 1977, Wonderstruck follows Ben (Oakes Fegley), a ten year old boy who loses his hearing after being struck by lightning. Following the death of his mother (Michelle Williams), he decides to travel to New York and track down the father...

Film Review: Ghost Stories

Film Review: Ghost Stories

There is a tremendous tradition of British ghost stories that goes as far back as writers such as Charles Dickens, M. R. James, and Jerome K. Jerome. It is a practice that has been kept alive and built upon over the years, and Andy Nyman & Jeremy Dyson’s adaptation of...

Film Review: Isle Of Dogs

Film Review: Isle Of Dogs

While talking dogs have long been a cinematic gimmick, they have never been as affectionately rendered as in Wes Anderson’s latest animation Isle of Dogs. The film is set 20 years in the future and takes place within a dystopian Japan. Following an executive decree from Mayor Kobayashi (Kunichi Nomura),...

Film Review: Journeyman

Film Review: Journeyman

With the plethora of boxing films that get released each year, it would have been easy for actor turned writer-director Paddy Considine to have produced a film comprising of genre tropes and clichés. Forgoing our usual expectations, Journeyman looks at the lasting injuries that can be obtained in the ring...

Film Review: My Golden Days

Film Review: My Golden Days

It may have taken almost three years for My Golden Days to make its way from the Cannes Film Festival to British cinemas, but this affecting drama is more than worth the wait. It opens with a middle-aged anthropologist called Paul (Mathieu Amalric) preparing to leave Tajikistan where he has been...

Film Review: Gringo

Film Review: Gringo

There is something of a throwback feel to Gringo that brings to mind the madcap crime capers of the 1990s. Former Ewan McGregor stunt double, Nash Edgerton returns to the director’s chair for the second time with an action comedy that owes a debt to the early work of Quentin...

Film Review: A Fantastic Woman

Film Review: A Fantastic Woman

While it is true that A Fantastic Woman is a trans drama, it's a description overlooks the many other compelling qualities that this Chilean film has. It is the type of simple categorisation that the title character Marina (Daniela Vega) faces and battles against. She may be a transgender woman,...

Film Review: Birth of the Dragon

Film Review: Finding Your Feet

While we may spend most of our lives planning for retirement and old age even the best prepared can be faced with unexpected challenges. This is just the situation that Sandra (Imelda Staunton) finds herself in. While her husband of 40 years Mike (John Sessions) celebrates his retirement following a...

Film Review: The Mercy

Film Review: The Mercy

Where most stories concerning plucky underdogs either see them miraculously come out on top or heroically fail with credit and respect intact, The Mercy shows us a third outcome that is much more realistic and true to life. For more often than not our grand plans do not turn out...

Film Review: Phantom Thread

Film Review: Phantom Thread

A decade on from their first collaboration, director Paul Thomas Anderson and actor Daniel Day-Lewis reunite for another tale driven by strong personalities, power struggles, and personal obsession. Set in 1950s London, Phantom Thread follows Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis), a fashion designer who makes clothes for high society and even...

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