Cinema Review: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones



DIR: Harald Zwart • WRI: Jessica Postigo •  PRO: Don Carmody, Robert Kulzer • DOP: Geir Hartly Andreassen • ED: Joel Negron • DES: François Séguin • CAST: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan, Jemima West

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is the latest in the seemingly unending array of young adult films adapted from successful young adult books in recent years. Ever since Harry Potter was launched onto our screens in 2001, and Warner Brothers had amazing success with the adaptation of the seven books, film producers have tried to emulate its unique success. However, that particular magic (pun intended) of the Harry Potter franchise is hard to bottle and these competing films have had varying degrees of success.

I went into The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones blind with no knowledge of the books, and at first I was a bit lost as the film jumps straight into the action and the plot moves along quite fast. However, you soon catch up and acquire enough detail of this world to understand the coming-of-age story of Clary Fray (Lily Collins). Clary is a seemingly ordinary girl living in New York whose world changes overnight when she begins to realise she isn’t as ordinary as she thought. She discovers an underworld of vampires, demons, werewolves and, the heroes of the piece, the Shadowhunters.

This type of fantasy world have been a bit overdone on TV and film in recent years and The Mortal Instruments is nothing new really. It adheres to certain stereotypes; the heroes wear copious amounts of black leather clothes (hardly the most comfortable for slaying demons), ordinary humans are seen as stupider and less brave than the Shadowhunters and the baddie (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is comically weak.

However, the actors do their best with the weak dialogue and it is an enjoyable enough film. Robert Sheehan is admirable as Clary’s ordinary best friend and he has decent chemistry with the rest of the cast. Lily Collins holds her own as the lead, but is not a patch on Jennifer Lawrence, in the superior The Hunger Games. It doesn’t help her that the dialogue between herself and her love interest Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower) is laughably bad.

Overall, the plot moves along nicely and it is a decent length, so you can enjoy this film without much knowledge of the books. This is presumably the first instalment of this six-novel franchise so there is plenty of room for development of the characters and it merely sets them up for a longer story.

Ailbhe O’ Reilly

Rated 12A (see IFCO website for details) 

129 mins
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bonesis released on 23rd August 2013

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones– Official Website


London Boulevard

London Boulevard

DIR/WRI: William Monahan • PRO: Quentin Curtis, Tim Headington, Graham King, William Monahan • DOP: Chris Menges • ED: Dody Dorn, Robb Sullivan • DES: Martin Childs • CAST: Keira Knightley, Jamie Campbell Bower, Colin Farrell, Ray Winstone

Sometimes you look in the fridge and impress yourself with the potential to make a really spectacular dinner. You throw it all in a big pot and eagerly await the result. It simply has to turn out well considering that all of the ingredients are individually a bit great. But then you taste it, and it all goes horribly wrong. Well that’s how London Boulevard left me feeling.

The film’s credentials cannot help but impress. It’s written by Oscar winner William Monahan who has previously thrilled us with Edge of Darkness, Body of Lies and modern masterpiece The Departed. Colin Farrell plays Mitchell, a recently released criminal who has no intentions of going back to prison and wants to lead a straight life despite his associates’ plans to the contrary. The love interest is a Hollywood recluse in the form of Keira Knightley, who hires Mitchell for protection. The local hoodlums are led by Ray Winstone, who eats up any scenery unfortunate enough to cross his path and regurgitates biographical nonsense in a kind of crude and distracting echo of The Dark Knight’s Joker.

The strength of London Boulevard’s players makes the end result baffling. Blame must be heaped on Monahan as he stepped up to direct his script for the first time; although I can’t help but also feel a little sympathy for his misfortunate decision. When you consider that his last three scripts have been successfully adapted by Ridley Scott, Martin Campbell (excellent director of Casino Royale) and Martin Scorsese, it’s no wonder that Monahan thought the process looked easier than it was.

The film is simply riddled with poor decisions. Scenes are left in that are unnecessary, while other background details are omitted. Dialogue is consistently forced and unintentionally amusing. The rock soundtrack is clearly inspired by Scorsese but rarely fits the action on screen. What is most frustrating of all is that the material had the potential to be a solid gangster film. If only Monahan had found London Boulevard instead of this anonymous, forgettable dead end. Next time, ask for directions.

Peter White

Rated 16 (see IFCO website for details)

London Boulevard is released on 26th November 2010


Principal photography now underway on ‘CAMELOT’

Principal photography has begun at Ardmore Studios in Ireland on the new romantic adventure series Camelot, a fresh telling of the classic King Arthur legend.

The cast is led by Jamie Campbell Bower (New Moon, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) as King Arthur, Joseph Fiennes (Elizabeth, Shakespeare in Love) as Merlin, Eva Green (Casino Royale) as Morgan, Claire Forlani (Meet Joe Black, The Rock) as Arthur’s mother Queen Igraine, Tamsin Egerton (Keeping Mum) as Guinevere.

Filming is set to continue until December on this Irish-Canadian co-production. Camelot is tentatively scheduled to premiere next spring on Starz in the US and the CBC in Canada.

Chris Chibnall (Life on Mars, Torchwood) is showrunner and writer on the Irish-Canadian co-production, which was engineered by executive producers Morgan O’Sullivan of Octagon in Ireland and John Weber of Take 5 Productions in Canada. Other executive producers on the project are Oscar®-winner Graham King and Tim Headington of GK Films and Craig Cegielski of GK-TV, James Flynn of Octagon, Douglas Rae of UK’s Ecosse Films, as well as Fred Fuchs, Michael Hirst and Anne Thomopoulos.

Camelot is scheduled to première spring 2011 on Starz in the US and on CBC in Canada.