Review: Coco

 

 

DIR: Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina • WRI: Adrian Molina, Matthew Aldrich PRO: Darla K. Anderson  DOP: Matt Aspbury, Danielle Feinberg • ED: Steve Bloom, Lee Unkrich • MUS: Michael Giacchino • DES: Harley Jessup • CAST: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt

 

Pixar proves yet again that it works best when it concentrates on original stories instead of pandering to tired franchises (Cars 3 anyone?). Though in many ways it treads similar ground, Coco is a film rich in heart, so much so that the film’s few flaws fail to take away from the overall experience. Bright colours, big emotions, and fantastic world-building means that Pixar’s newest offering earns its place in the studio’s pantheon of classics, tear-inducing moments included, as is tradition.

Coco centres on Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), a young Mexican boy from a family of shoemakers who longs to be a musician à la his deceased idol, actor and singer Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt) – there’s just one catch… Music of all forms has been banned from the Rivera household ever since Miguel’s guitarist great-great-grandfather walked out on his family many years before. The discovery of a hidden photograph convinces Miguel that his infamous ancestor is none other than de la Cruz himself, but even this revelation cannot convince his family to allow him to pursue his musical passion.

During Día de los Muertos, the only day of the year in which deceased loved-ones can enter the living world to visit family, Miguel magically finds himself transported to the Land of the Dead. There, he teams up with a loveable ragamuffin, Hector (Gael García Bernal). The two must race against time before Miguel becomes trapped in the realm of the dead forever. Antics ensue, shocking twists are revealed and lessons about family and love are learned.

The film is certainly greater than the sum of its parts. It’s when you begin to look at individual elements that cracks start to appear, namely in the story department. The only reason there is a plot at all is because of Miguel’s family’s almost pathological adherence to a rule set down by a dead woman based on events that happened decades before practically all of the living characters were born. Talk about cutting off your own nose to spite your face. There’s also a few small plot contrivances that ring rather unoriginal, but overall the film has enough going for it that suspending the audience’s disbelief on these matters is not too much of a chore.

Despite the oversimplification of the plot’s basic structure, the film is not afraid to examine more complex themes about the nature of family, death and remembrance, which ultimately saves it from being a typical kid adventure movie with a cultural twist. Though it hardly needs saying, the animation is superb and the level of detail given to each character and background elevates the film to a much grander scale. The design of the Land of the Dead is superb and kudos must be given to the animators for making the skeleton characters look so welcoming and, well, alive.

Where the visuals really shine, however, is in the use of colour and light. Most of the story takes place at night and the film creates the illusion of artificial light that has warmth and depth to it that in hands of a less skilled studio could have looked garish. Most of the films soundtrack was penned by married duo Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez of Frozen fame, but despite a one or two pleasant songs the music is surprisingly unmemorable. Luckily this is not a huge deal, for even though this is a film about a musical family, it is not a musical in and of itself.

Overall, Coco is a celebration about family, those still with us and those who came before. It is a beautiful and moving tale immersed in Mexican culture yet with a universality that is sure to resonate with anyone of any background. A wonderful film for families and a wonderful film just in general.

Ellen Murray

PG (See IFCO for details)

104 minutes
Coco is released 12th January 2018

 Coco – Official Website

 

 

Share

Review: The Greatest Showman

DIR: Michael Gracey  WRI: Jenny Bicks, Bill Condon  PRO: Peter Chernin, Laurence Mark, Jenno Topping  DOP: Seamus McGarvey • ED: Tom Cross
Robert Duffy, Joe Hutshing, Michael McCusker, Jon Poll, Spencer Susser • MUS: John Debney, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, Joseph Trapanese • DES: Nathan Crowley • CAST: Hugh Jackman, Zendaya, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson

 

It’s bad enough when a film gets too heavy-handed with its message but even worse when it then proceeds to not uphold the very message it preached. Such is The Greatest Showman. The film talks a talk, but it doesn’t walk the walk. Well, if the song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has taught generations of children anything, it’s that physical oddities and quirks are to be celebrated – but only if they can be exploited for a profit. Evidently, director Michael Gracey is a fan of this sentiment.

Roughly (very roughly) based on the life of show business entrepreneur P. T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) and the founding of the famous Barnum & Bailey Circus, the film is a kaleidoscope of colour and song that looks almost impressive enough to distract from its muddled plot and bad writing. Risking all he has to pursue the dream he and his wife Charity (Michelle Williams) have harboured since childhood, Barnum seeks to create the greatest show on Earth. Reaching out to those who have been shunned by society for their colour, their disabilities and just their general unconventional-ness, Barnum brings together a rag-tag group of performers to entertain and delight the very public that had always disregarded them – and all for the low, low cost of an admission ticket!

Jackman is, of course, as charming as ever as the titular showman and, with his musical theatre credentials, clearly revels in a role that allows him to showcase all of his talents. Other cast members fare equally well, in particular Zendaya who brings an intensity to the role of trapeze artist Anne Wheeler that rings sincere even if it is sometimes out of place alongside her co-stars fluffier performances. This is not a film that lacks talent, but rather coherence in both narrative structure and theme. One of the films biggest problems is its paradoxical treatment of its ‘freak’ characters. Despite every set piece and musical number regurgitating the films theme of self-empowerment, the circus performers are only ever used as background props for the films traditionally beautiful and able-bodied characters. We never learn anything about their personalities or back stories in significant detail and so can only identify them by their physical characteristics; the giant man, the conjoined twins, the dog-boy, the bearded lady etc. By reducing these characters to the titles slapped on them by a world that ostracizes rather than embraces those who are different, the film is reaffirming the very ideology it claims to reject. The lack of self-awareness is apparent as to almost be humorous.

The film also suffers from issues with pacing – racing forward in the beginning then slowing to an almost tedious drip by the end. Years pass in the blink of an eye, the circus performs one successful show then suddenly Barnum is debt-free and can purchase an opulent mansion. It’s a bit jarring to say the least. In his eagerness to provide the audience with a good time, director Gracey forgoes all build-up for constant pay-off, which ultimately feels undeserved and means the films quieter moments lack an emotional punch. To give the film some credit, it does feature some visually fantastic sequences and Gracey does provide some flair with the camera work. But by far the oddest choice made for the film, giving that it is trying to emulate the Hollywood studio musicals of old, is the musical direction. The soundtrack consists entirely of pop anthems, the B-side kind and are unsurprisingly unmemorable.

Overall, The Greatest Showman is a film that aims no higher than pure unadulterated entertainment and doesn’t even really succeed at that. It may provide just enough spectacle to prove a pleasant distraction during the holiday period, but a warning in advance – leave the brain behind for this one.

Ellen Murray

PG (See IFCO for details)

104 minutes
The Greatest Showman is released 26th December 2017

The Greatest Showman – Official Website

 

 

Share

Review: Suburbicon

DIR: George Clooney  WRI: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, George Clooney, Grant Heslov  PRO: George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Teddy Schwarzman  DOP: Robert Elswit  DES: James D. Bissell  Ed: Stephen Mirrione  MUS: Alexandre Desplat  CAST: Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac, Noah Jupe, Gary Basaraba

The greatest comedy can come from the darkest of situations; reflecting on the violence and tragedy that humankind inflicts on ourselves it is difficult to come to any other conclusion than pure bewilderment at its absurdness. At that point, what can you do but laugh? The Coen Brothers’ best work are generally rooted in this strange juxtaposition. Unfortunately, even the best quality clay can be moulded into something clunky and unappealing by unskilled hands. George Clooney is not a man devoid of skills, but Suburbicon proves that acting in good films does not qualify one to direct them. Despite being chock-full of interesting ideas, the film fails to bring them together to make something comprehensible or enjoyable.

Set in the titular Suburbicon, a 1950s all-white neighbourhood with perfect houses, perfect gardens and perfectly horrible racists, a newly arrived black family, the Meyers, find themselves subject to intimidation and protests. White residents clutch their pearls and speak plainly to news reporters that the lack of racial segregation will surely result in the destruction of their idyllic community. But on the other side of the picket fence, Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) finds his family’s veneer of white, Christian wholesomeness beginning to slip. When his wife (Julianne Moore) is murdered during a botched home invasion, seemingly an act of retaliation for the Lodge’s young son (Noah Jupe) having the gall to play with a black child, Gardner becomes entangled with the local mob in order to protect his remaining family. But not everything is at it seems, and not everyone is as guilty or as innocent as they may look. As tensions descend into violence the ugly underbelly of the American suburb is laid bare.

The core concept of the film reads well on paper. Contrasting the experience of the black American family trying to find their way and maintain their dignity in a country that actively works to destroy them to the inherent hypocrisy of the white, nuclear family ideals could make for an engaging and thought-provoking narrative. The problem is, for all of Clooney’s desire to highlight his ‘racism is bad’ message, the Meyers are never given enough characterisation or screen time to be anything more than props for the film, thus diluting the power of their struggle for the audience. Their experience is only the backdrop for the actual story of the film to take place against. But even the main plot of the film feels at times unfocused.

Matt Damon’s performance is suitably intimidating when necessary, but suffers from a lack of consistent characterisation. Julianne Moore, who plays both Gardner’s wife Rose and her twin sister Maggie, drifts through the film, fine but unmemorable. The film works best when it gives itself over wholly to being a screwed-up comedy of errors. It is the supporting cast, such as Gary Basaraba as Uncle Mitch, Glenn Fleshler as the hitman and Oscar Isaac as a brilliantly devious insurance claims investigator, that turn in the best performances and the screen lights up whenever they are on it. Sadly, just as it feels things are properly getting going, the film gets bogged down once more.

Overall, Suburbicon as a whole is not as great as the sum of its parts. Though visually pleasant, if lacking flair, director George Clooney just can’t make the film come together in a way that will elicit an audience reaction other than ‘meh’.

Ellen Murray

15A (See IFCO for details)

104 minutes
Suburbicon is released 17th November 2017

Suburbicon – Official Website

 

 

Share

Review: Justice League

DIR: Zack Snyder  WRI: Chris Terrio, Joss Whedon  PRO: Jon Berg, Geoff Johns, Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder • DOP: Fabian Wagner • ED: David Brenner, Richard Pearson, Martin Walsh  DES: Patrick Tatopoulos  MUS: Danny Elfman • CAST: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher

Things being grim as they are (you know, just, in general) the concept of a team of superheroes sworn to protect mankind at all costs, from threats both human and otherwise, is an appealing one – if not particularly original. The DCEU got off to a lukewarm start with Man of Steel in 2013 and its reception only cooled with the disappointing Batman V Superman and quite frankly incomprehensible Suicide Squad in 2016. Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman offered a refreshing reprieve this summer, but one out of four doesn’t make good odds for an expansive, cohesive cinematic universe a la Marvel. What with rumours of planned stand-alone films for these characters now being cast in doubt and Batfleck hoping to jump the DC ship sooner rather than later, the future of this motley crew’s silver screen adventures is uncertain. Which is a shame because, despite being messy, clunky and riddled with dodgy CGI, Justice League offers just a glimpse of what the DC universe could be if taken in hand by a more capable creative force.

In a world still reeling from the loss of Superman, a malevolent being from another world by the name of Steppenwolf sees an opportunity to feed on humanity’s despair and wreak devastation. Realising the impending doom hurtling towards them, and filled with remorse for his part in Superman’s death, Batman (aka Bruce Wayne aka Ben Affleck aka Batfleck) seeks to create an opposing force to this evil. Joined by Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), they enlist the scrappy, if somewhat excitable, speedster Barry Allen ‘The Flash’ (Ezra Miller), underwater cowboy Arthur Curry ‘Aquaman’ (Jason Momoa) and the cybernetically enhanced Victor Stone ‘Cyborg’ (Ray Fisher). Mismatching jigsaw pieces though they may be, the team comes together in order to protect the one common interest that they all share; the Earth.

The film is deeply, deeply flawed. The story is only just serviceable, the villain boring and unthreatening, the CGI looks unfinished in some places and straight up ugly in others, action sequences take place too quickly for the audience to properly comprehend what’s happening on screen, and Wonder Woman and her fellow Amazonians are ridiculously over sexualised. And that’s the short list.

And yet… there is something compelling about these characters. They bounce off each other in a way that’s strangely endearing and each actor does their best to bring something extra to their character. True, character interactions are not free from hammy dialogue and the film’s pacing means things often feel too rushed. But there is something undeniably thrilling in seeing these iconic characters work together on the big screen. It’s just a shame that their current incarnation, moulded in Zack Snyder’s vision, lacks a strong framework to allow them to better shine. The characters save the film from being a complete and utter disaster, but they alone can’t save it from being a mild disaster.

While undoubtedly Snyder is genuinely passionate about these characters, he seems to suffer from a fundamental misunderstanding of what they represent and, most importantly, what cinema-goers expect from a story involving them. Justice League understands that a character like Superman means something to people; it just can’t show us convincingly why.

Ellen Murray

12A (See IFCO for details)

119 minutes
Justice League is released 17th October 2017

Justice League – Official Website 

 

 

Share

Review: Breathe

DIR: Andy Serkis  WRI: William Nicholson  PRO: Jonathan Cavendish • DOP: Robert Richardson • ED: Masahiro Hirakubo DES: James Merifield  MUS: Nitin Sawhney • CAST: Andrew Garfield, Claire Foy, Tom Hollander, Hugh Bonneville

 

Robin Cavendish seemed to have an ideal life; a successful career as a tea broker that allowed him to travel to the furthest points of the globe, a beautiful and devoted wife, a baby on the way and his health. When the latter was tragically snatched from him in the form of the poliovirus, leaving Cavendish completely paralysed from the neck down, the restrictions of disabled care in 1960s England meant his life was to be confined to a hospital bed and a ventilation machine constantly whirring on the nightstand. But, thanks to a few dedicated friends, the constant care of his wife Diana, and his own steely determination, Cavendish would become the longest living responaut in British history and a tireless campaigner for the rights of disabled people worldwide. Breathe is a deeply empathetic take on a condition that devastates the lives of so many, but director Andy Serkis too often errs on the side of deifying his two main characters to the point that emotions begin to ring false. Inspirational? Yes, absolutely. Genuine? Not so much.

Thankfully, Andrew Garfield’s and Claire Foy’s performances keep the film from descending into ‘Hallmark-made-for-TV’ territory, each bringing a restraint that perfectly conveys the tangle of complex emotions neatly masked by the stereotypically stiff upper lip that marked the British constitution of the twentieth century. However, though the challenges the couple faced are made clear, Serkis never truly dives into the nitty-gritty realities of Cavendish’s condition, leaving the audience feeling that we have not been shown the full picture. The swiftness in which the narrative moves means that the many obstacles the couple faced are so quickly overcome as to have never been a real threat to begin with. Cavendish wants to leave the hospital? He leaves the hospital. He wants to go outside? Hey presto, their inventor friend whips up a wheelchair that can support his ventilator. It’s not that the film belittles these problems, it just doesn’t give itself enough time to reflect on the impact their resolution. Victories come so swift and with such ease, one can’t help but feel that a little more time was concentrated on the fight for these rights rather than the outcomes.

Overall, Breathe is a film with the best of intentions, but too twee an execution to connect with audiences on anything more than a surface level.

Ellen Murray

12A (See IFCO for details)

117 minutes
Breathe is released 27th October 2017

Breathe – Official Website 

Share

Review: IT

 

DIR: Andy Muschietti  WRI: Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, Gary Dauberman  PRO: Seth Grahame-Smith, David Katzenberg, Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Barbara Muschietti • DOP: Chung-hoon Chung • ED: Jason Ballantine  DES: Claude Paré   MUS: Benjamin Wallfisch  • CAST: Bill Skarsgård, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Wyatt Oleff, Jack Dylan Grazer

 

Growing up is a difficult business at the best of times, but when you add a monstrous immortal entity that kills children exclusively to the equation things get a whole lot messier.

Pennywise is back and more terrifying than ever in the newest adaptation of Stephen King’s infamous novel. Director Andy Muschietti crafts the film with a real self-awareness as to its inherently goofy imagery, masterfully weaving terror and tension into the obscene and absurd. For all the scares, however, the film is anchored by a genuinely moving core, full of heart, emotion and even a few good laughs. Tying everything together are the fantastic performances by the lead child cast, all of whom bring a depth to their characters many of their adult counterparts would envy, and of course, the killer clown himself, Bill Skarsgård.

Set in the sleepy Maine town of Derry in the summer 1989 (the ’80s are so hot right now but, to give the film credit, pushing the events a few decades after they take place in the novel does not in any way impose on the plot), a group of bullied kids discover the horrifying truth behind the disappearance of multiple local children. Under the pavements, in the sewers, a shape-shifting entity better known as Pennywise the Clown has come back to life after thirty years of hibernation and is resuming once more the hunt. As the town’s adults remain belligerently blind to the events unfolding under their very noses, the ‘Losers’ gang must learn to face their inner metaphorical demons before they can confront the very literal monster feeding on their deepest and darkest fears.

This is a film that lives or dies on two mutually important elements; Pennywise and the kids. Without one working to full capacity the other is also dragged down with it. Luckily, Muschietti knows how to bring out the best in both. Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise is truly unsettling and while it is inevitable perhaps that his performance will draw comparison to Tim Curry’s famous turn as the character in the 1990 TV adaptation, Skarsgård succeeds and surpasses on every level. His voice constantly alternates between eerily childlike to rough and gravelly, as though the monster is barely able to conceal his true nature under his deceptively child-friendly appearance. Though of course he is helped along by excellent costume design and make-up, where Skarsgård really passes the text is in films stranger moments where Pennywise has the potential to look ridiculous, but yet he always manages to maintain an exceptionally menacing undercurrent.

This performance is nicely complimented by the film’s child stars. While all the Losers gang are well cast and convey their roles perfectly, the standouts are Sophia Lillis as Beverley, Jaeden Lieberher as Bill and Jeremy Ray Taylor as Ben. Each bring a maturity and vulnerability to their respective roles that makes them constantly engaging to watch and ensures the audience feels something real towards them, making the scenes where their characters are in danger all the more tense.

There are few things in the film that distract from its overall enjoyability, however, namely the strange objectification of Beverley, a girl no older than thirteen. It is not a consistent theme throughout the film but there are moments that feel somewhat uncomfortable. Perhaps the argument here is that, as the only girl in the group and the object of her fellow gang members’ affection, we are supposed to see her through the eyes of a boy the same age. But it’s difficult to forget that the person behind the camera is a grown man and so too are many of the audience members. Asking us to gaze at this fifteen-year-old actress the way a thirteen-year-old boy would seemed a little weird, and not in a good way.

Putting this rather awkward nugget aside, IT nonetheless manages in a lot of ways to improve on its source material, combining horror and adventure in a way that will leave audiences both scared and exhilarated.

Ellen Murray

16 (See IFCO for details)

134 minutes

IT is released 8th September 2017

IT – Official Website

 

 

 

Share

Review: Annabelle: Creation

 

DIR: David F. Sandberg • WRI: Gary Dauberman, Gary Dauberman • PRO: Peter Safran, James Wan • DOP: Maxime Alexandre • ED: Michel Aller • DES: Jennifer Spence • MUS: Benjamin Wallfisch • CAST: Talitha Bateman, Lulu Wilson, Stephanie Sigman, Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto

In my 2014 review of Annabelle, the original spin-off from James Wan’s immensely successful Conjuring series, I wrote that ‘Let’s face it, when you create a doll as inherently creepy looking as Annabelle you’re sort of asking for a demon to possess it. An evil spirit would be the only thing on earth (or beyond) to find this caricature of fugly appealing’. While the demonic dolly remains as frightful looking as ever, Annabelle: Creation manages to pull off a rare feat; it surpasses its predecessor while still contextualising it so that a comprehensive cinematic universe is expanded upon. Director David F. Sandberg stays true to the style of the series previous instalments but ramps up the scares to create a genuinely terrifying horror film with substance.

After the death of their young daughter, doll maker Samuel Mullins (LaPaglia) and his wife Esther (Otto) decide to open their now sadly empty home to a group of dislocated orphaned girls and their carer, Sister Charlotte (Sigman). Among the new arrivals are devoted best friends Linda (Wilson) and Janice (Bateman), the latter of whom has been made lame by polio. No sooner have the girls settled into their new rooms, however, then things begin to go bump in the night. After being drawn by an unseen force inside the usually locked bedroom of the Mullin’s deceased daughter, Janice discovers a rather creepy looking doll sequestered in a cupboard lined with pages from the Bible – and then the real fun starts.

On paper, the film seems like a typical paint-by-numbers haunted house affair, but, thanks to Sandberg’s slick direction, great production design and an effective soundtrack, it is elevated to something more. It’s the little touches that culminate to create an atmosphere of horror, and a prime example in this film is the subtle, yet almost constant, rumbling noise in the distance, under the character’s dialogue. With a less skilled director this could have been hugely distracting, but Sandberg utilises this sound effect so well that instead it succeeds in conveying a feeling of unrelenting, approaching dread that the characters are powerless to escape from.

All of this is aided by the surprisingly engaging performances from the two child leads, Lulu Wilson and Talitha Bateman, who are given the benefit of actual character development from the script rather than being reduced to the moving props that scream on cue role that other horror films assign to their child-aged characters. In comparison, the performances of their adult counterparts, though passable, fall somewhat flat and clunky dialogue is sprinkled throughout the film, though not enough to be distracting. Another weakness of the film lies more in its role as a continuation of the Conjuring universe rather than as a standalone piece, but for those hard-core horror fans that love to immerse themselves in the lore of these narratives the film does not add much to the Annabelle ‘mythology’ and instead merely builds on information already revealed to audiences in The Conjuring and Annabelle. This is, however, a small dent on an otherwise well-crafted flick.

Annabelle: Creation manages to undo a lot of the damage done from its 2014 predecessor and uses the best elements of the horror genre to create something that feels familiar but not fatigued. A solid film for those searching for a shot of adrenalin and no desire to go to sleep anytime soon.

Ellen Murray

108 minutes
16 (See IFCO for details)

Annabelle: Creation is released 11th August 2017

Annabelle: Creation – Official Website

Share

Review: The Beguiled

 

DIR/WRI: Sofia Coppola • PRO: Youree Henley • DOP: Philippe Le Sourd • ED: Sarah Flack • DES: Anne Ross • MUS: Laura Karpman Phoenix • CAST: Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Colin Farrell, Oona Laurence

Set in Virginia during the peak of the Civil War, Sofia Coppola’s reimagining of Thomas P. Cullinan’s novel The Beguiled and Don Siegel’s 1971 film adaptation of the same name internalises the conflict of war to create a tense yet hugely engaging thriller. Under the deceptive guise of antebellum elegance and Victorian social graces, emotions shimmer close to the surface as Coppola explores the delicate balancing act between humanity’s capacity for goodness and immense violence.

When a badly wounded Union soldier, Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell), finds refuge in an all-girls boarding school occupied solely by its headmistress Martha Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman), instructor Edwina (Kirsten Dunst), and five students who have been stranded there by the war, fear and suspicion begin to give way to unspoken desire. Initially determined to hand the Yankee over to Confederate forces as soon as possible, the excitement of having a male presence in their home, and one dependent on them for everything, due to his wounds, delays John’s fate as the women proclaim ‘Christian charity’ so that they may keep their pet a little while longer. With the ominous sounds of musket-fire ever present in the distance, another war within the walls of the school begins as desire becomes jealousy, jealousy becomes despair. Having tried so hard to keep themselves isolated from the horrific violence taking place in the real world just outside their front gates, the women must now confront the ugliness of human nature in their own front parlour.

The soft, almost ethereal lighting and muted colours create a dreamy world in which Coppola utilises each shot to its best advantage. The juxtaposition between the clean white muslin of the women’s dresses compared to John’s rugged and bloodied uniform and the external world it represents, leaving their embroidered pillows mucky and unclean, both draws attention to the reality of the historical time period in which the film is set yet seeks to alienate the audience from it to better convey the timeless psychological elements of the narrative. There is a restraint to the camerawork that elevates the character’s internal struggles all the while keeping the surface level stunning to look at. All of this is complimented by the Grade A performances from the film’s stellar cast. Nicole Kidman in particular is compulsively watchable and brings a finesse to her role that only an actor of her skill could. Colin Farrell is also quite strong here, manoeuvring the cracks between charming and intimidating with ease.

It is unusual that this film suffers from the very thing that mires other works of cinema; at barely an hour and a half, the film could have been allowed an extra twenty minutes. The climax of the film, while not exactly rushed, is not as impactful as it should be due to the clipped manner in which the events immediately prior unfold. Other aspects of the narrative also could have done with some more elaboration.

Overall The Beguiled feels like a classic with an alternative twist. Beautiful, tense and engaging, the film will lure you in with every frame.

Ellen Murray 

93 minutes
15A (See IFCO for details)

The Beguiled  is released 7th July 2017

The Beguiled  – Official Website

 

Share