Tuesday, 7 August 2018

August 9th 

On Chesil Beach 

Mission Impossible: Fallout
MIFF: A Woman Captured

Not a lot to report this week, as film buffs are bum down/head up in cinemas watching the cornucopia of fine films that constitute MIFF. 

On Chesil Beach
Director: Dominic Cooke
Length: 110 min
© Transmission - love on the beach, or 
on the rocks?
In 1962, Florence (Saiorse Ronan) and Edward (Billy Howle) have just married and are spending their wedding night in a Dorset hotel near Chesil Beach. Both are young and nervous about the prospect of consummating their marriage (the sexual revolution hasn't quite hit yet). As things get more awkward between them, a flaming argument erupts. Things are said and decisions made that will affect their lives for ever. Writer Ian McKewan has adapted his acclaimed novel for the screen, but I find myself ambivalent about the film. The film looks lovely, the period is well evoked and  Ronan gives a nuanced  performance as the upper class classical musician, totally in charge in her musical world yet completely naive when it comes to love. The subject matter feels strangely anachronistic while the constant flashbacks from the wedding night to earlier times interrupt the dynamic of the unfolding drama. The hackneyed (though tear-jerking) denouement feels glib. Oddly, the awkwardness of the couple, rather than making for authenticity, lend an awkward feel to the film. Overall though, it probably is worth seeing. 
3 - recommended!

Mission: Impossible - Fallout
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Length: 147 min
© Paramount - Tom up to his old 
daredevil tricks
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is  on a heart-stopping mission to retrieve the stolen plutonium before disaster strikes. Sound familiar? Whether you love or hate blockbusters, this is certainly a full-on, breakneck, excitement packed addition to the genre and indeed the successful MI franchise. As you know, I am not a huge blockbuster fan, and I NEVER am able to follow the plot of these convoluted spy-vs spy movies, but perhaps it doesn't matter. It's never about plot: one goes to watch the daredevil Cruise perform his own mighty impressive stunts, and to enjoy the roller coaster of non-stop action. There's a strong supporting cast including Angela Bassett, Ving Rhames, Henry Cavill, Rebecca Ferguson, Michelle Monaghan and Alec Baldwin. Ultimately it's mindless but fun entertainment, which for die-hard fans (and according to Rottten Tomatoes) is the best yet of the series. What would I know!?
2.5 - maybe!

Happening now - until 19 August

Many of the strong feature films from MIFF will be getting mainstream releases, so I try to preview films that I think won't see the light of day outside of festivals, especially documentaries. Remember, I reviewed three last week. 
A Woman Captured: This Hungarian doco is so mind-boggling as to defy belief. 53-year-old Marish has been a slave for years to a callous and abusive woman, Eta. As the film-maker chronicles Marish's miserable daily life, the oppressed woman finally works up the courage to hatch an escape plan. This is excruciatingly slow, but bizarrely intriguing, focussing in on the ravaged toothless face and daily torment of the unfortunate woman. How she allowed this to happen I'll never know, but apparently this sort of modern slavery is alive and well, not only in third-world countries, but also in Europe. (9th Aug, 12th Aug)

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