Festival Coverage

London Film Festival 2018: First Look Reviews – The Guilty and Knife + Heart

The Guilty A few years ago, I said that the acclaimed Locke was essentially radio. Set entirely in a car, with its protagonist having telephone conversations as he drives on into the night, it struck me as something that, whatever its other qualities, imparted nothing extra to us by being presented in a visual format. The Guilty is set entirely in an emergency call centre as Asger Holm (Jakob Cedergren), bored by being tied to a desk job, is finally...

London Film Festival 2018: First Look Review – Lizzie

True crime is big business at the moment. Documentaries like Making a Murderer, Casting Jonbenet and The Staircase and podcasts like Sword and Scale, Generation Why and Casefile generate large audiences and discussion. There are though certain crimes that transcend the regular true crime audience and pass into the wider pop culture consciousness. The murder of Abby and Andrew Borden, allegedly by Andrew’s daughter Lizzie, is one of those crimes. Since her trial ended in acquittal in 1892 there have...

London Film Festival 2018 First Look Review – Assassination Nation

Set in the town of Salem, Assassination Nation is a dystopian fantasy about the consequences for four high school girls when their town goes into meltdown, after half of its residents have their text messages and emails hacked and released on to the internet. Because everything is terrible now, we don’t have to look far into fantasy for our dystopian nightmares. The hacking a few years ago of private celebrity photos and the monitoring of prominent people’s phone messages by,...

London Film Festival 2018 – First Look Reviews: Bisbee ’17 and Woman At War

Bisbee ‘17Reality, in any sense wider than the confines of the frame, is something cinema can never truly capture. Even in the purest of non-fiction films, there is a starting and stopping point and the question of how the very presence of a camera alters the reality it observes. Robert Greene is a documentarian who isn’t particularly interested in the purity of reality, rather, with Kate Plays Christine and now with Bisbee ‘17, he likes to look at how replaying...

London Film Festival 2018 – First Look Reviews: Shadow and School’s Out

ShadowZhang Yimou’s three previous martial arts films have been explosions of both colour and action. Whatever else you thought of them, they were retina-searing spectacles of the highest order. Shadow sees Yimou returning to martial arts cinema, but with a very different aesthetic. The story manages to be simple yet convoluted, revolving round the town of Jing, which the kingdom of Pei also claims the right to. The King of Pei (Ryan Zheng) is outraged that his top military commander...

TIFF 2018 – First Look Review: Float Like A Butterfly

Frances (Hazel Doupe) is from a traditional traveller family, and she’s always been a fighter. When she was nine, her pregnant mother was accidentally killed in a fight between the Garda and Frances’ dad Michael (Dara Devaney). In 1972 Frances is fifteen and even more determined to fight her own battles, despite her Dad’s insistence that it is men who should do the hitting for, and sometimes to, women. Fresh out of prison, Michael skips bail and goes on the...

TIFF 2018 – First Look Review: Retrospekt

Retrospekt is a drama from director Esther Rots, which comes nearly 10 years after her 2009 debut, Can Go Through Skin. The plot follows, Mette (Circé Lethem) a social worker who specialises in supporting female victims of domestic abuse, and her descent into danger by getting too close to a case she is handling. The action is told through a non-linear narrative that relies heavily on flashbacks and flash-forwards creating the sense that the film is an elaborate but horrifying jigsaw puzzle....

TIFF 2018 – First Look Review: Angel

“This movie is not an autobiography, but a fictional dramatization based on true characters and real events.  Facts and fiction have been mixed.  Scenes, dialogues, emotions, and thoughts of the characters reflect the maker’s imagination and should not be confused with reality.”  So begins Koen Mortier’s latest feature, Angel. Err…excuse me?   This is the truly bizarre start to a film that slips and stumbles its way through its 104-minute runtime.  Koen Mortier, who wrote the script based on the Dimitri...

TIFF 2018 – First Look Review: Blind Spot

The title of actress Tuva Novotny’s film alludes to something you can’t see coming, and that’s what happens both to the characters and the audience in this emotionally intense real-time drama. Things start slowly, with 12 year old Tea (Nora Mathea Øien) and her friend Anna (Ellen Heyerdahl Janzon) walking home from handball practice. Along the way they talk about small things; homework, an upcoming exam, girls in their class who wear too much makeup. We’re settling in, we assume,...

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