Cannes 2022 Review: Elvis

★★★★☆ There is such a thing as too famous. Elvis Presley, king of rock ‘n’ roll, was too famous. In Baz Luhrmann’s excellent new film, the life of the 20th century icon of American culture and music is viewed through the eyes of unreliable narrator, the so-called "Colonel" Tom Parker (Tom Hanks). A former conman and freak show operator turned music promoter, this thoroughly mysterious chap singlehandedly turned the unknown Elvis into the biggest music star on the planet. Elvis...

Cannes 2022 Review: Godland

★★★★★ There are some places God is not wanted. That's how it feels in Hlynur Pálmason’s astonishing late 19th century odyssey, in which a naïve Danish priest and amateur photography enthusiast sets off for Iceland, at the time a dependency of Denmark, to build a church in the relatively unknown south eastern part of the land. Lucas (Elliott Crosset Hove), the soldier for Christ, is a bit of an odd duck. Instead of travelling directly by boat to the south...

Cannes 2022 Review: Crimes of the Future

★★★★★ Humans are changing. Humans are … evolving. In David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future, people have started to grow extra organs in their bodies, whose functions are yet to be discerned. Some, like Saul Tenser (Viggo Mortensen), have used this biological development for a new type of performance art. Along with Caprice (Lea Seydoux), a former surgeon turned fellow artist, Tenser allows his collaborator to cut open his body with a biotechnological machine, probe around and extract tumours and...

Cannes 2022 Review: Holy Spider

★★★★★ In the Iranian city of Mashhad, between 2000-2001, a serial killer murdered 16 prostitutes. Upon capture, Saeed Azimi told the authorities he was doing the work of God, cleaning his home city of vice and moral corruption. Many in the country appeared to believe him and rallied against his conviction, turning the case into a national phenomenon. Ali Abbasi’s grim drama about predatory evil dressed up as a religious cause begins as a textbook Hitchcockian homage before transforming into...

Cannes 2022 Review: Triangle of Sadness

★★★★★ Ruben Östlund’s The Square won the Palme d’Or in 2017. A social satirist, he loves nothing better than to skewer bourgeois pretentions, masculinity or the art world. In his new film, Triangle of Sadness (2022), the Swedish director takes a bunch of brash and manipulative 1%ers on a voyage across the high seas and uses the framing device to explore class oppression and what happens when the elites don't get their way. Told in three parts, featuring an international...

Cannes 2022 Review: Enys Men

★★★★☆ The dead know only one thing: it is better to be alive. Those words, uttered by Private Joker, in Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 Vietnam war film, Full Metal Jacket, echo in Mark Jenkins’ horror oddity, Enys Men. The Cornish director’s latest work is a committed avant-garde experiment, guided as much by Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) and At Land (1944) as it is British classic The Wicker Man (1973), John Carpenter’s The Fog (1980) or Herk Harvey’s Carnival...

Cannes 2022 Review: Three Thousand Years of Longing

★★☆☆☆ George Miller’s Three Thousand Years of Longing (2022) is such a tedious grind from start to finish, it feels three thousand years long in running time. A ponderous and flat entry in the Australian maestro’s slim filmography, which outside of the Mad Max franchise has always been a bit hit and miss, this homage to storytelling and the power of love is a cringey dud. Alithea Binnie (Tilda Swinton) is a narratologist. That mean she spends her life studying...

Cannes 2022 Review: Armageddon Time

★★★★☆ In recent times the acclaimed American indie auteur, James Gray, has opted for epic spectacles taking place in 1920s New York (The Immigrant, 2013), the Amazon jungle (The Lost City of Z, 2016) and outer space (Ad Astra, 2019). His latest, though set in early 1980s Queens, is a return of sorts to the family-focused dramas which made his name. Young Paul Graff (Michael Banks Repeta) is a daydreamer. At school, he gets into trouble for drawing instead of...

Cannes 2022 Review: EO

★★★★★ Have you ever seen a film and been caught completely off guard, by surprise, left wondering what the hell it is you’ve just seen? Well, Jerzy Skolimowski’s EO (2022) is such a film. Works like this are made for festivals such as Cannes, where you’re left initially perplexed and bewildered, but once you let its effect take grip, you’re very glad you saw it. Bold, frightening, intense, experimental, mysterious and dazzling, the Polish filmmaker’s movie about the life and...

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