This film carries with it a secret pressure that cannot be ignored; a kind of exciting anticipation that only a sequel to a classic film can muster. Much like George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead, Dario Argento’s Mother of Tears, or Wes Craven’s Scream 4, Robin Hardy has returned with The Wicker Tree, a sequel to his 70s cult classic The Wicker Man.
Ominous church bells toll in the distance, calling out like ghosts from some long-forgotten past. A seemingly endless rainfall feeds the muddy wasteland that is the village square. A herd of cows waders about, as aimlessly lost as the community who owns them. The indomitable sense of oppression hangs over the scene, as thick and suffocating as the omnipresent fog which hangs in the air.
It was Benny’s Video which first brought Haneke’s name to widespread critical attention, the manner in which he indicted the dangers of cinema and its inherent voyeurism singling him out as a director of promise and potential. With Funny…
With its tightly coiled narrative and top-notch cast, Crossfire is a slow-burning crime drama and unlikely “social message film” with a noir twist. Based on the controversial Richard Brooks novel The Brick Foxhole, screenwriter John Paxton re-teamed with director Edward Dymtryk after the success of their 1944 noir classic, Murder, My Sweet. This time around religious bigotry takes centre stage, as intolerance is unearthed among a group of soldiers recently returned from the Second World War.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was first a complex, labyrinthine novel by John le Carre. Then it was a complex, labyrinthine miniseries on BBC TV. Now it is a lean two-hour feature where the complexity gets lost in the labyrinth. The film is masterfully crafted and beautifully acted, thoroughly cinematic in every way – except for its screenplay, which painfully compresses the story and structures the narrative as a rote procedural. The subtle, gorgeous, endlessly evocative filmmaking is more than enough to hold our interest, but this is a movie with a story to tell, and the story is so obfuscated by this script that it’s hard to maintain interest.
There’s effortlessness in David Fincher’s latest film, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which makes it feel a bit slight. The film is impeccably made on a technical level, as one would come to expect from Fincher, known for being a perfectionist. But still, there’s just that little bit of extra something that feels like it’s missing here, and it’s hard to put a finger on it.
Boldly announcing himself upon the stage of international cinema with 2009’s Let the Right One In, the significant critical and commercial acclaim accorded director Thomas Alfredson clearly proved him a filmmaker capable of pulling off high quality adaptations of complex and dark literary sources.
Blow Out is one of those love letters to cinema that can only be pulled off by a cinematic talent like Brian De Palma. He is paying homage to a wealth of films that came before, but he does so in a wholly original way. He takes elements of Antonioni, Coppola, and Hitchcock and distills them in to a unique work that is entirely his own. It isn’t just the technical elements that make a De Palma film distinguishable from the films it is paying tribute to, but a frequency that resonates through his entire body of work. This frequency is driven by his infectious passion for thrillers and popcorn cinema. It permeates his work with visual homage, shared plot elements, and sound design that act as callbacks to firmly established thriller tropes while maintaining a unique and fresh vision.