The Counterfeiters

Sally and Burger face off

When The Counterfeiters (Die Fälscher) won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 2008, there was disquiet in some quarters. How come Cristian Mungiu’s brilliant 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days hadn’t even been nominated? Didn’t that glaring omission obviously invalidate all the other entries? As with most cases of whataboutery, the answer is yes, but mostly no. The Oscars are always a bit of a scrum and for all their claims to objectivity are best seen as industry awards first (ie the “Buggins’ Turn” rule is in play) and guarantors of quality second. In the end The Counterfeiters won and, while not quite a classic on the Mungiu level, it’s a fine … Read more


Detail of the expressionist set design

Horizons aslant, perspectives askew, Hinterland borrows freely from German Expressionist cinema to put a new (old) spin on familiar material. “The war is lost,” intones a sombre voice in German as the lights come up. We’re in Austria after the First World War where a soldier just back from an extended stretch in a Soviet prisoner of war camp is acclimatising himself to life back in Vienna. He was a cop before the war and now he’s back on home turf he’d like to be again. Which is handy because there’s a killer on the loose, offing people in floridly extravagant ways – one man pinioned to a post by a large number … Read more


Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde in Deadfall

Remember Eric Bana in Chopper, frightening everyone to death as Australia’s most gruesomely violent criminal, Mark “Chopper” Read? There are echoes of Bana the Bad in Deadfall, in which he plays one half of a psycho sibling pair who are heading, unwittingly as far as they and everyone else concerned can tell, for a showdown rendezvous at a Thanksgiving dinner. Deadfall isn’t half as good as Chopper, though it does give Bana a chance to show us he can still do ugly. If only writer Zach Dean and director Stefan Ruzowitzky had worked out some way of telling the other four stories they’re trying to tell with economy, leaving Bana with more screen … Read more