手机版现金棋牌捕鱼Bacurau review – LFF 2019: Stylish and socially conscious Brazilian showstopper that resists definition

Bacurau (4 stars)

  • Nikki Baughan
  • 4 October 2019

Bacurau

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LFF 2019: Stylish and socially conscious Brazilian showstopper that resists definition

Part dusty western, part sharp social commentary, part frenetic fever dream, this year’s Cannes Jury Prize winner Bacurau is an astonishing piece of cinema, both in terms of its ideas and its craft. While its narrative may be wilfully elusive at times, writer-directors Juliano Dornelles and Kleber Mendonça Filho preferring to suggest rather than tell, the film has a clear message, and makes its points with confidence and style.

Set ‘a few years from now’, it all begins innocuously enough, as we follow a woman returning to her home village of Bacurau, in the middle of the Brazilian outback, for her grandmother’s funeral. This is a tight-knit community which looks after its own, and so when bizarre events start to occur – electricity being cut off, strange drones in the sky, the town literally disappearing from the map – the locals immediately band together in defence. To discuss the plot in any more detail would be to dilute Bacurau‘s impact; this is a film that should be allowed to unfold unhindered upon its audience.

Much like the year’s other standout South American film Monos, shot in neighbouring Colombia, Bacurau‘s power lies in its hypnotic visual identity. Cinematographer Pedro Sotero and editor Eduardo Serrano work in harmony, capturing both the expanse and anonymity of the isolated landscape – which, it’s suggested, hides multipl真钱捕鱼风云棋牌e sins – and lingering on minutiae: beads of sweat, empty streets, seemingly innocent exchanges that seethe with tension and foreboding. A discordant, writhing score adds to the sense that, in Bacurau, nothing is as it seems.

When, at the midway point, the focus drifts outside of the village, Bacurau does suffer slightly from a dip in energy and some rather (and possibly deliberate) pantomime-esque performances from the English-speaking contingent of its cast. But later, as the pace ratchets up and simmering frustrations boil over into bloody violence, the directors keep a firm hand on proceedings, knowing when to pull back and when to allow their characters to finally unleash the full force of their anger.

Influences may be obvious – from the South American surrealism of Alejandro Jodorowsky, to the horror tropes of John Carpenter et al – but Dornelles (a former production designer) and Filho (who directed sensitive Brazilian social drama Aquarius) have made something that’s ultimately their own. There are elements of the supernatural, of the otherworldly, of the monstrously human at play here but, at its core, this is a story of David versus Goliath corruption, of class warfare at its most extreme; it’s a damning indictment of the injustices that run rife in modern Brazil, and the world at large.

Screening on Fri 4 and Sat 5 Oct as part of the BFI London Film Festival 2019. General release TBC.

捕鱼专场领万元现金The King review – LFF 2019: David Michôd is behind this ambitious but uneven take on the Henriad plays

The King (3 stars)

  • Katherine McLaughlin
  • 3 October 2019

The King

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LFF 2019: David Michôd is behind this ambitious but uneven take on the Henriad plays

With 2010’s Animal Kingdom, Australian director David Michôd announced himself as a bold new voice, picking apart anger and masculinity with a palpable intensity. That film also provided Ben Mendelsohn with his international breakthrough, and he briefly appears as Henry IV in the director’s latest, an ambitious reworking of William Shakespeare’s Henriad plays. Beginning at the end of Henry IV’s life, this adaptation concludes with events just after the Battle of Agincourt.

The protagonist is Henry V, played by young heartthrob Timothée Chalamet. He shows impressive range as reluctant ruler ‘Hal’, who cedes his playboy lifestyle when he takes the throne. He is eventually provoked into waging war with The Dauphin of France (Robert Pattinson), despite leaning towards pacifism. Joel Edgerton, who co-wrote the screenplay with Michôd, plays John Falstaff with a little nod to Orson Welles’s turn in Chimes at Midnight but he makes the role his own as the film progresses, his tormented soldier a mix of amusingly gruff and genuinely affecting.

When Pattinson appears on screen, doing an awful French accent that he may have learnt from watching John Malkovich’s turn as Pascal Sauvage in Johnny English, things take a turn for the worse. His comical role is about as nuanced as Malkovich’s, and thus memorable for all the wrong reasons. Considering the giant fandoms Pattinson and Chalamet have amassed, it’s tempting to read their squabbles in the dirt as comment on their shifting sex symbol statuses. At any rate, it feels like stunt casting.

Michôd fails to draw out the anguish of his young monarch’s coming-of-age in a brutal setting with as much vigour as his debut. What he does achieve, however, is an intermittently compelling treatise on the consequences of war, as he examines the way Hal gets swallowed up in its machinations, despite his best efforts. The superbly directed mud-and-guts battle at Agincourt speaks volumes on the savagery of conflict, even if the overall film strikes a disappointingly uneven tone.

Screening on Thu 3, Fri 4 and Sun 6 Oct as part of the BFI London Film Festival 2019. Selected cinematic release from Fri 11 Oct and on Netfl手机现金捕鱼平台宝马棋牌ix from Fri 1 Nov.

电玩城捕鱼现金下分The Report review – LFF 2019: Adam Driver stars in this somewhat dry indictment of the CIA’s post 9/11 practices

The Report (3 stars)

  • Sophie Willard
  • 4 October 2019

The Report

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LFF 2019: Adam Driver stars in this somewhat dry indictment of the CIA’s post 9/11 practices

In this damning if flat indictment of CIA practices, Adam Driver plays Daniel Jones, a former US Se捕鱼赢现金排行榜nate investigator and the lead author of a report on the agency’s torture programme deployed in the wake of 9/11, which was commissioned by Senator Dianne Feinstein (Annette Bening). Jones faced stonewalling, obfuscation, and the threat of legal action as the CIA attempted to prevent the report’s publication – despite its findings corroborating their own, from an earlier, covert investigation.

Those findings? That torture – repackaged with PR spin as ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ – produced no actionable intelligence. Writer-director Scott Z Burns’ film hammers this conclusion home decisively. Although focusing primarily on the practices of the Bush administration, notably, and refreshingly, his script doesn’t let President Obama off lightly either, exposing the Democrat party’s complicity in sweeping the story under the rug.

Grainy, orange-filtered flashbacks to the events detailed in the documents recreate the dehumanising treatment of detainees. They’re the film’s weakest element. Dialogue between CIA agents and the incompetent US Air Force psychologists who devised the programme is almost laughably expository, their conversations too on-the-nose in their cartoonish villainy. Though the flashbacks don’t glorify the violence, they serve little purpose but to humiliate the Middle Eastern actors employed to stand naked and chained and pretend to be repeatedly water-boarded – an insulting creative decision.

Rather dry in its first half, the film injects much-needed humour into later scenes, with Driver in particular making use of his fine comic timing. Bening, sadly, has little to work with, and the attention to story over character results in a fact-focused retelling that’s intellectually interesting and thrilling in its condemnation, yet devoid of tension, drama, and emotion.

Screening on Sat 5 and Sun 6 Oct as part of the BFI London Film Festival 2019. Selected release from Fri 15 Nov.

真人真钱上分捕鱼游戏下载Bad Education review – LFF 2019: Cory Finley’s stranger than fiction tale stars a superb Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney

Bad Education (4 stars)

  • Nikki Baughan
  • 4 October 2019

Bad Education

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LFF 2019: Cory Finley’s stranger than fiction tale stars a superb Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney

Fully subscribing to the notion that truth is often stranger – and more compelling – than fiction, Bad Education takes a knowing dive into the scandal which played out in New York’s Roslyn school district in 2002, during which senior administrators were found guilty of embezzling millions of dollars of public money. Featuring knock-out central performances from Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney, this second feature from Cory Finley, director of the exceptional, equally-as-knotty Thoroughbreds, confirms him as a talent to watch.

From the moment we meet him, strutting onto the stage at a school event, it’s clear that 手机捕鱼现金兑换平台Long Island district superintendent Frank Tassone (Jackman) is a proud, confident and popular man. Impeccably dressed, with not a hair out of place, he resembles a politician more than an educator. Indeed, that’s a fair comparison: Frank regularly uses his gifts of persuasion and his golden smile to get things done.

When it transpires that business administrator – and Frank’s right-hand woman – Pam Gluckin (Janney) has been stealing school money, a devastated Frank is determined to protect the district’s standing and reputation. Yet, as the details are slowly, beautifully teased out by the whip-smart screenplay from Mike Makowsky (I Think We’re Alone Now), himself a former student of Roslyn High School, Frank has his own reasons to bury the truth.

If Bad Education often leans into the surreal humour of the situation – Frank’s attempted shakedown of school paper journalist Rachel (the excellent Geraldine Viswanathan, from Blockers), whose investigation plots the course of the narrative, is a case in point – Finley has taken the expert decision to play this sensational story fairly straight. There are no flashy visuals or narrative theatrics a la The Wolf of Wall Street or The Big Short. Instead, a clear focus on the individuals at the heart of the story explores not only their appalling actions but also the very human (and strangely relatable) ways in which they attempt to rationalise or explain them.

Indeed, while stellar production design keeps us firmly rooted in the early noughties’ world of flip phones and CD players, parallels with the morality issues that are currently plaguing everything from politics to culture give Bad Education a resonance and reach far beyond its Long Island setting. It’s a superb piece of storytelling.

Screening on Mon 7, Tue 8 and Wed 9 Oct as part of the BFI London Film Festival 2019. General release TBC.

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