Archive for the ‘★ ★ ★ ★ ★’ Category
Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive it is a perfectly measured work of cinematic style and artistry. The story of a Hollywood stuntman (Ryan Gosling; Crazy, Stupid, Love) who moonlights as a getaway driver, it glides with perfect pace and rhythm like a shark through midnight waters, masquerading as a mainstream action movie when it is in fact a slow-burning art-house drama – albeit one with an ultra-violent edge. Engrossing from [...]
It’s hard to imagine that I’ll see many other films this year as morally complex or achingly real as Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation [Nadir and Simin, A Separation]. Winner of Best Picture Awards at numerous international film festivals including Sydney, Berlin and Fajr in its native Iran, the film is an intimate drama about conflict within and between two families of vastly different social and economic standings. Superbly written, acted [...]
Few films have ever created an atmosphere as suspenseful as Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 masterpiece Rear Window. Despite being set entirely within a single apartment, the picture never feels claustrophobic. In fact, as Hitchcock explores the nature of voyeurism from the comfort of our protagonist’s New York City apartment, the film somehow manages to feel worldly.
If I ever needed a reminder as to why I love the art of film, I needn’t look further than Robert Connolly’s political thriller Balibo. Based on the true story of the five Australian journalists who went missing weeks prior to Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor in 1975, Balibo is a momentous piece of storytelling, driven by powerhouse performances and sublime direction. Emotionally engaging from start to end, this is a profound cinematic experience that sheds damming light on a 34 year old blind-spot in Australasian history.
An elegy is a mournful, melancholic or plaintive poem, especially a funeral song or a lament for the dead. An elegy can also reflect on something that seems strange or mysterious to the author. And so it is with Ben Kingsley as aging lothario David Kepesh, a reflection on the mysterious. The upset of his perfectly ordered life when beautiful Consuela Castillo (Penelope Cruz) comes crashing into it with a tender love causing him to question his shallow existence and opens up a gradual revealing of himself to be vulnerable no longer an impenetrable fortress against the world. This dominos into his fractured relationship with his son, Kenny Kepesh (perfectly restrained acting by Peter Sarsgaard), his best friend George (Dennis Hopper) and his wife Amy (a well-acted cameo by Blondie’s Deborah Harry) carrying him further and further into reflection of the walls he has built.
I guess you could say genre categorisation exists to give the prospective audience an inkling in to what sort of emotions they should expect the film to evoke. Yet British director Danny Boyle asks an elementary question; why? Why limit a film to one set of emotions when it has the potential to explore so much more?
“This town deserves a better kind of criminal”, Heath Ledger’s Joker menacingly proclaims as he casually sets light to a monstrous mountain of money that ferociously burns to the ground, “…and I’m going to give it to them.”