The Innocents

Jack Clayton's "The Innocents" is a dark and warped little feature, made with extraordinary prestige, that manages to be genuinely horrifying, and leaves the viewer reeling with all sorts of hidden implications and grotesque subtleties. That it was made in 1961 is intriguing; it marks the halfway point between old stuffy gothic melodramas, and the graphic,…

Stations of the Cross

Some people will exit Dietrich Bruggemann's film "Stations of the Cross" thinking it to be an attack on religion. But I think a lot of religious people would gain a great deal from it. Indeed, as someone who has straddled the agnostic fence for some time, it provided a lot of food for thought on…

The Survivalist

There is a moment towards the end of Stephen Fingleton's 2015 "The Survivalist" where a character smokes a cigarette, and the ash, instead of falling off, forms a droopy grey cylinder, and at the point in the film that this occurs, we can't help but think to ourselves that the ash is a metaphor for…

My Brother’s Wedding (Director’s Cut)

Charles Burnett's 1983 film "My Brother's Wedding" is a lean piece of economic filmmaking, with a jumbled aesthetic that gives off a distinct impression of a few friends gathering round each weekend to shoot the breeze, and some footage on the sly. This seems odd given how strongly Burnett feels about his material, and how…

Crying With Laughter

Justin Molotnikov's "Crying With Laughter" is a knotty and unpredictable film, that pushes through the personal crises of a semi-successful stand-up comedian to arrive at something genuinely dark and impressionable. It is a very good film. It would also make for a good double bill with the Gillian Robespierre's "Obvious Child", another work that used…

Some Velvet Morning

Neil LaBute is a director known for pulling no punches, and as such has remained a sometimes maligned voice in modern cinema. Yet he always seems to remain true to his vision, whatever that may be. His favourite target seems to be male aggression and the ways in which the entitlement of men can so often…

Superbob

A film that's simply not very good speaks for itself, but a film that carries with it the promise of something worthwhile and yet fails to deliver is a disappointment unto itself. I considered this during Jon Drever's "Superbob", a film which has the trajectory of a missile; it starts out impressive, before very quickly…

Romance

Catherine Breillat's 1999 film "Romance" is a wilful exercise in obscurantism, a film where nobody acts like real people, characters endlessly pontificate on various subjects, repetitively and with little interest, and gratuitous sex abounds. I kinda liked it. It follows a woman called  Marie (Caroline Ducey), who is sick of the lack of intimacy afforded…

5 To 7

Victor Levin's film "5 To 7" begins, for a short while like a rom-com indebted to formula. The protagonist, Brian Bloom (Anton Yelchin) comes off as a wilful tabula rasa, an aspiring writer who has made a collage of his rejection letters, types out copy in pubs alone, and confesses to having no urge to…