God’s Own Country Review

Dramas about unspoken homosexual love often follow a familiar pattern at the cinema. The human triumph of God’s Own Country, the first film from British director Francis Lee, comes in showing how love is tough to express whatever the sexuality of the afflicted. Set amongst the windswept Yorkshire hills, it depicts two farm workers whose connection…

A Ghost Story Review

I can think of few films that are as distant from their promotional photo, and indeed their title, as David Lowery’s A Ghost Story. We might anticipate a post-modern, self-aware horror; what we get is an original and emotionally profound depiction of love, loss and how humans move through time. Lowery has described the film…

Dunkirk Review

It almost goes without saying that Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan’s 10th feature film, is thrillingly good. The motif of Nolan’s work is an astoundingly high quality level. By turning one of history’s most famous battles into a desperate existential drama, he invigorates yet another genre. Watching a new Christopher Nolan film is as good as cinema…

Indignation Review

Screenwriting is the underappreciated art of cinema. In Indignation James Schamus, the thrice Oscar-nominated writer, producer and film legend, shows himself to be a master of this craft. In what is also his first directorial venture, he provides a soft, subtle song that will grow in your mind after the credits have rolled. Indignation is an…

Sundance London: The Greasy Strangler Review

Gruesome murders. Explicit, disgusting sex. And a whole lot of grease. The Greasy Strangler takes huge dollops of bad things, and serves them up in a thrillingly original feast that tastes so, so good. You know how it is – when you’re a 40-something single man living in a static caravan with your geriatric father, serving…

Sundance London: Life, Animated Review

With continuing advances in understanding of mental health and brain conditions, there is a widening territory for filmmakers to consider and represent the experiences of non-neurotypical people. Roger Ross Williams documentary Life, Animated is at the forefront of this new scope, with the story of Owen Suskind’s life managing autism covering just about all the emotions…

10 Cloverfield Lane Review

2008’s Cloverfield was a trend-bucker, a jittery, ‘handheld’ hit known for the monster it didn’t show and the fear it did. It inspired many subsequent films across thriller and horror genres; it is surprising, then, that 8 years later 10 Cloverfield Lane is a sequel in spirit, but not in story. In truth the less revealed about…

Mustang Review

The protagonists of Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s excellent Mustang are making the transition from childhood through adolescence, towards adulthood. It is one that turns each of us into individuals, with our own experiences bringing out a personality unique to us. And yet it is one we all make, and as such we can recognise parts of the…

Anomalisa Review

It’s a Charlie Kaufman film, so it should be no surprise that Anomalisa playfully considers our beliefs and expectations. And yet it manages to offer up an experience even hardened cinema-goers will not expect. Given the endless possibilities afforded in a CGI age, it is a shame that animation is so frequently used in the service of robots hitting each…

’71 Review

Yann Demange’s ’71 is a thriller set in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles. It is an astoundingly tense film that uses its historical template to analyse the intricacies of conflict, but also wider themes of loyalty, trust and the corrupting nature of partisanship. The narrative centres on Gary Hook, a young British – and English…

The Guest Review

One moment at the beginning of Adam Wingard’s The Guest captures the forte of the film very well. Anna Peterson (Maika Monroe) is questioned on David, the titular visitor to her family abode. She tersely replies, ‘I said he seemed nice, I didn’t say I liked him’. It is on this distinction between charm and…