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Latest Reviews

The miners marching in a line

The War Below

War movies cost money, but the team behind The War Below have somehow managed to produce one on the sort of budget that Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk or Peter Jackson’s 1917 probably spent on catering. And they’ve made a decent fist of it. The fascinating and true story it tells is of the British miners recruited … Read more

Ivan in a dark room with two heavies

Azor

A Swiss banker arrives in Argentina in 1980 looking for his partner, who’s mysteriously disappeared. Writer/director Andreas Fontana’s debut feature Azor tracks the progress of Ivan de Wiel, which is anything but straightforward, in an oblique, tangential, mood-soaked almost-thriller that’s more about the journey than the destination. Being Argentina in 1980, with a military junta … Read more

Valene Kane as Melody

Profile

Profile is a 2018 drama about a journalist who poses online as a teenage Muslim convert from London to strike up a relationship with an Islamist jihadi fighting out in Syria. The immediate suprise of it is that this simple, high concept film rooted in political reality is directed by Timur Bekmambetov, the Russian/Kazakh director … Read more

Ivan Massagué stars as Goreng

The Platform

In The Platform (El Hoyo, in the original Spanish) a man wakes up in a place that isn’t familiar, a place full of dread and fear located in a world that seems to operate by different rules. He may not know where he is, but we know where we are: in one of those high … Read more

Juliette Binoche as Claire

Who You Think I Am

One person stalks another person online in Who You Think I Am (Celle Que Vous Croyez). If it’s not quite as creepy as you might expect, it’s not quite as emotionally engaging as it might be either, which is deliberate. We’re held at arm’s length, while co-writer/director Safy Nebbou gets busy with the mechanics of … Read more

Virgine and Bill walking

Stillwater

There are two stories being told in Stillwater, one well, the other other not so well. Unfortunately for all concerned, it’s the one that’s told not so well that the film insists it’s all about, from its title all the way through to its concluding scenes. At 2 hours 19 minutes you’d have thought that … Read more

Jean-Louis Trintignant as Silence

The Great Silence

One of the great puzzles about Sergio Corbucci’s 1968 spaghetti western The Great Silence (Il Grande Silenzio) is how shakily it starts. In one gruesomely unsteady shot after another, using lenses that are way too long, cinematographer Silvano Ippoliti appears to be putting on a demonstration of the genre’s technical shortcomings, with distant figures swinging … Read more

Aileen and W Eugene Smith

Minamata

From its title right through to its last gasp, Minamata insists that it isn’t about the photographer W Eugene Smith. But it is. Smith was a photographer who’d distinguished himself in the Second World War and then returned to lay down many of the ground rules of photojournalism at Life magazine, he and it in … Read more

Jeon Do-yeon

Beasts Clawing at Straws

Beasts Clawing at Straws also goes by the English-language title of Beasts That Cling to the Straw but Rats in a Sack would also be a useful way of translating its original Korean title. It’s a story about different sets of people, all connected by a Louis Vuitton holdall full of cash, which we first … Read more

Watanabe on the swing in the snow

Ikiru

Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru is now old enough – it was released in 1952 – for people to be able to consider it rationally. Almost from the moment it hit the screens it was treated as Kurosawa’s “triumph”, one of the best films ever made, regularly turning up on Sight and Sound magazine’s influential once-a-decade poll … Read more

Pico, Debbie, Frankie, Suzy, Winky and Terry

Summer Days, Summer Nights

Summer Days, Summer Nights originally went by the title Summertime, as in the song by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, which is interesting because that’s exactly the vibe it has – beautiful young people all just hanging and chilling and cooling about, enjoying the heat, soaking up the rays and basking in the … Read more

Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard

Annette

The formidably talented maverick Leos Carax hasn’t made a feature in nine years, nothing since 2012’s batshit Holy Motors, so that’s one thing to thank the new movie Annette for. Whether Annette actually is a Carax movie at all is the question though. How so, you ask. Because Annette is written by Ron (he of … Read more

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