Hope Gap

Annette Bening and Bill Nighy

About as unfashionable as they come, Hope Gap has two and a half great actors in it and tells a tender story with great compassion. It’s an adaptation of writer/director William Nicholson’s play The Retreat from Moscow and though Nicholson throws in scenes set on the cliffs and by the sea as often as possible, in an attempt to cinematify things, this is obviously a chamber piece that doesn’t in any case need them. Instead it gets its power from the gulf between what is said and what is unsaid, and the interaction of the two. The two great actors are Annette Bening and Bill Nighy, playing a long married couple called Grace … Read more

American Beauty

Mena Suvari in American Beauty

London theatre director Sam Mendes’s debut as a movie director has been treated by some critics as if it were a missive from the gods. Perhaps it was the opening scene which showed Kevin Spacey jerking off in the shower which did it for them – so bold, so adult. The film locks straight in to a long line of suburban dystopian drama and hangs its story off the jowls of Spacey, playing the worm that turned, the comfortable middle-class corporate Joe who chucks it all in for the easy release of drugs and sex after he becomes infatuated with his daughter’s best friend (Mena Suvari). His wife, meanwhile, is filling in the … Read more