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Archive for the ‘Film Reviews’ Category

SC: Tenderness

Quoted “An Edge of your Seat Thriller” starring ‘Academy Award Winner’ Russell Crowe. Please note: Academy Award was certainly not won for this show. Not because he’s a poor actor but purely because this film does nothing!

Synopsis and quick glance of reviews showed this film out to be very much average. Could have gone some way to a good film, certainly worth a shot. The synopsis describes retired Detective Lt. Cristofuoro (Russell Crowe) who takes an interest in a released juvenile murderer Eric Komenko, recognising his continuing threat to society. Also catching the eye of Eric is Lori Cranston, who, I continue from the IMDb synopsis…

“She keeps a scrapbook about Eric, and when he’s released from custody, she hides in the backseat of his car, insisting he take her with him on a trip toward Albany where he’s planning to meet a girl.”

This is a great introduction to the start of the flaws in this film. Why her obsession with Eric, how did she get in his car? These are questions that are just not answered. They, as simply as the synopsis states, just happen.

I will spoil the rest of this film from here, consider it a favour, saving you from 100 mins wasted of your precious time on this earth.

In short, Lori turns psycho, constantly wanting to be around Eric and rather disturbingly trying to get him to like her. Why? Still unsure.

Eric is psycho, constantly having flashbacks to his murders and thoughts and attempts to kill Lori.

Turns out Eric and Cristofuoro (ex murderer and cop) used to have a great friendship. How and that came and went didn’t matter, so long as the viewer knew it happened.

Cristofuoro is psycho, with his wife in a vegetative state in hospital, he has no remaining family and finds this case, and dealing with his old friend the only reason for his life. Although, saying that, he barely appears though out the film and anything ‘ground breaking’ he discovers, really simply, is not so. He can appear ahead of the game, finding out where Eric is but that simply leads to him being in that location. Nothing else actually happens.

Nothing else actually happens.

The characters seriously lack depth, we are just dealt with a tedious journey of stuff, some how, happening, often without reason. Who does the viewer like, who does the viewer side with? Well, no-one, they’re all just psycho and nothing really happens to them.

By the end of this film we’re given this psychological feedback narrated by Russell Crowe about what it all means attempting to tie together our feeling, emotions about and of the journey. It reminded me of attempting to be psychological like Requim For A Dream or American Beauty. Instead, it just came across as pointless musing, over a story which really didn’t matter.

One good thing for the story was some cinematography stood out as very good. It came across as very art house and held a very indie feel. If the film itself meant something, touched something within the viewer maybe this could have been a decent film. However with no love for the characters to which nothing really happens to the film ended with the very expected emptiness of “…oh.”

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‘The Host’ is everything a monster movie shouldn’t be: intelligent, cutting, heart-warming and funny. Perhaps I’m generalising, but when I think of western monster movies, at least, all I can recall are puny humans running for their lives as some gargantuan monstrosity eradicates everything in the vicinity (okay, I’m thinking more Godzilla than King Kong, here). The monster is the movie, essentially, and whilst it might be used to make certain points about the nature of mankind, it is essentially both premise and antagonist. ‘Cloverfield’ did something a bit different, by inverting the concept and making the whole movie about not seeing the monster, but it was still very much there, and advancing the plot with its destructive presence.

By contrast, the monster from The Host is present for only about half of the film’s running time. This isn’t because it’s badly animated and the filmmakers were trying to cover it up; indeed, when the creature is on-screen it’s the most beautifully animated disgusting mutation I’ve ever seen. It’s not even because the film is following the ‘Jaws’ idea that Cloverfield also invoked, the idea that a monster is scarier in small doses, when it’s out there but you can’t see it (although it does have that effect). The real reason the monster is used so sparingly is because The Host is less a ‘monster movie’ than a ‘movie about how people respond to monsters’. Whilst with most monster movies, the wider points they make are mostly allegorical, in The Host the whole concept of the beastie is used a direct springboard for exploring some totally off-beat stuff, and yeah, it’s awesome.

You have to see it in action, still shots don't do it justice.

What the film is really about, then, is the tragic, but warm story of a simple family who get caught up in all the craziness even more so than the rest of Seoul’s residents, when the main character’s daughter is kidnapped by the monster, but for some reason left alive. The family unit is made up of the well-meaning father, the fairly useless son, the successful-but-fatally-flawed daughter, and the post-graduate-unemployed-ex-revolutionary-drunkard other son. Okay, they’re at best only falteringly original characterisations, but they’re presented in an entirely new context here, and they really do feel like a family, like real people. In-between and intersecting with their story, the film pokes a lot of fun at governments, armies and misinformation – particularly Americans, who are at the eventual root of the  monster problem – but South Korea’s own don’t fare too well either.

Sometimes the satire seems dangerously close to parody, but even in spite of some rather slapdash slapstick, the film never feels like it has gone overboard, never sacrificing the heart of the story for the sake of the points it wants to make. In the end it succeeds on the dual levels of making you laugh at the comedy of ineptitude that is the official response to the monster, whilst also highlighting the tragedy behind the family story that is repeatedly set back by the very same madness.

So, if you like monster movies, movies with cool animation, dramas, comedies, movies that make you think, movies that make you warm inside, or all of the above, and of course, you don’t mind subtitles, you should check out The Host. It’s a mental thrill ride through several genres quite unlike any other film you’ll see, and proof enough our localised mainstream cinema is only part of a larger art of filmmaking that we shouldn’t discount just because we don’t always hear about it.

Stephenie Meyer book? I have no idea what you’re talking about.

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‘Four Lions’ is hilarious, poignant, meaningful and tragic all at the same time, sometimes over the course of a single scene. It touches on some very dangerous subjects; the film essentially follows a group of radicalised British Muslims as they plot to unleash a righteous Jihad on western society, and catapult themselves to Heaven. The brainchild of British satirist Chris Morris (previously responsible for The Day Today, amongst other things), ‘Four Lions’ is, however, not a film that sets out to piss off as many people as possible, something that, given the subject matter, would not have been difficult.

Instead, the film is an outright deconstruction of our entire perspective of terrorism. We might imagine groups of dangerous-looking people sitting around in dark rooms plotting evil deeds, but what ‘Four Lions’ gives us is a group of blatantly British terrorists, all of whom are of questionable metal capacity, being completely farcical instead of terrifying. Even the rooms aren’t particularly dark.

There’s nothing new about the concept of making antagonist characters the true ‘stars’ of a medium, but it’s not easy to do. How can we feel sympathy for characters whose given motivation is to blow us up? ‘Four Lions’ pulls it off because the characters are, to some extent, just like us. Western pop culture references litter the film: consider slow-witted character Waj, filming himself in the wilds of Pakistan firing an AK-47 into the sky and referring to himself as ‘Paki Rambo’. All the actual terrorists in the encampment are utterly baffled by him. He’s British, he’s irreverent, he’s endearing.

The real representation of the contrasts within the film, however, is the ‘main’ character Omar, the organiser and ringleader of this particular group. He is the brains of the operation, if only by dint of being smarter than the others, and his world is a strange one. He has a loving and supportive wife and child who can’t wait for him to blow himself up, and he explains the meaning of his Jihad to his son via allegory based on The Lion King, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. He has a fundamentalist brother whom he mocks for his old-fashioned views, a brother who serves to contrast how Omar is the picture of the average white British person’s idealised modern Muslim: he lets his wife speak out, he lives and works peaceably in the country, he spurns the old ways. Other than the fact that he wants to eradicate Western society, he’s a thoroughly nice chap (with a hilarious ranting sense of humour). Figure that one out, twenty-first century Britain.

It makes it all very hard to believe, and there are hints also that the characters themselves don’t entirely know what they believe. Omar’s convoluted explanation to his son suggests he doesn’t entirely know what he means. Wingman Waj is a simpleton, barely capable of exercising any concept of free will. The more cynical amongst you might argue that makes him the perfect person to blindly follow a cause, and the film plays with that too. The only one who seems outright committed to radicalism is convert Barry, a borderline psychopath who thinks that blowing up a mosque is a good idea. As a result of this madness, we don’t know what to believe either, and it is easy as a viewer to treat the film as an episode of Dad’s Army, a hilarious farce that won’t go anywhere.

But it does go somewhere. Without wishing to spoil too much, I will say that Four Lions is one of those films where, when the credits roll, you sit back, bamboozled, because you’ve just been completely knocked for a loop. In the end, it’s an entirely nihilistic satire that doesn’t portray anybody in a particularly good light, but will nonetheless make you feel for characters you should, in the eyes of most modern perspectives, despise. It’s an education I’d recommend to anybody.

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I was sold on ‘Red’ after the first twenty seconds. Not much happens during this time; it’s basically Bruce Willis wandering around a house. Nah, what sold me were the credited names that flashed up; Willis, of course.. then Morgan Freeman. Then John Malkovich. Then Helen Mirren. Awesome. Look at them all posing up there, it’s like being at the Academy Awards. I didn’t even know what it was going to be about (in some ways, going into films blind is more interesting than knowing what to expect), but on a cast list that strong I was more than happy to continue watching.

Since you’re here, though, you’re probably interested in knowing what ‘Red’ is about, so I shall spoil plot and premise for you. ‘Red’ is an action-comedy adaptation of a DC Comics miniseries from a few years ago, about an ex-CIA agent living in quiet retirement who suddenly discovers people are trying to kill him. As you might guess, this sort of forces him out of retirement, as he embarks on a quest to find out exactly what’s going on. In this case, adaptation isn’t quite the right word, as the original series only ran for three issues. The film is more a retelling of the premise, or, more cynically, a film that rips off an existing story for its basis because somebody couldn’t think of a good concept on their own. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, though; with major franchise adaptations like Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films, there’s an awful lot of ground to cover and character development to fit in, so it’s hard to do it all well and complaints are practically inevitable. In the case of ‘Red’, the original concept barely covered more than the skin and bones of the film; hence why adaptation isn’t the right word. This is an expansion and retelling of a concept, which is why I’m cool with it.

So, Bruce Willis plays our retired agent Frank Moses, with all the casual gusto that comes with decades of starring in action blockbusters. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that the role was written for him, since he wears it like a glove. His cynical, hard-bitten nature is contrasted by his love interest, played by Mary-Louise Parker (who you might know better as that crazy drug dealer chick from ‘Weeds’), a sappy-romance writer and all-round idealist. Taking her with him on his crazy journey since she’s in danger too through contact with him, Moses takes a tour of America to meet up with some of his old, similarly retired friends. Cue Freeman, Malkovich and Mirren (with cheers from me every time one of them appeared for the first time), whose characterisations are.. less interesting. Okay, Malkovich’s tin-foil hat borderline sociopath is amusing, but only because Malkovich rules quirky roles; the character itself is quite a tired trope. Morgan Freeman basically plays himself, which admittedly, he does very well, and the main draw of Mirren’s character is that she’s the last person you’d expect to see wielding a sniper rifle. Add this all up though and ‘Red’ is still basically a film about actors we like doing fun stuff we can enjoy.

It’s not all fluff though. The plot is actually quite twisty-turny and plays out like the bastard lovechild of a road movie and a conspiracy theorist’s notebook. It’s never overly complex though, and is quite tongue-in-cheek in line with the rest of the film’s humour, seguing with the action sequences in a comically over-exaggerated way. There’s an interesting point to be made about whether we let comic-book films off more so than other films for being overdone, and the idea that a screenwriter can point to the comic and say ‘I’m just being faithful to the source material’, but who cares. This is a fun film, just enjoy it.

It is, of course, by no means perfect. Whilst the film’s antagonist is quite well drawn and develops well over the course of the story, he never feels particularly threatening (although this is more due to his having to compete with the casual awesomeness of the retirees than any fault of his own, and for what it’s worth he does very well), and so there’s never any sense that the main characters are really in danger. Also, some of the jokes don’t go anywhere, and the film eventually gives in to the tepid old ‘she fell over’ excuse for separating the main star from his love interest (although she does at least take quite a tumble). For all of these deficits, however, there will be something cool, like a funky background tune, a clever scene transition or a well-choreographed 360 degree shot (during which I always try to imagine the camera crew running around in circles to stay ahead of the shot) that makes up for it.

All in all, the film comes out ahead of the curve, not as something world-changing but as something worth watching, a well-meaning antidote to the approaching cold and unpleasant weather of a British winter. Go and watch it if you can, I’m sure it’ll make you feel better.

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“I can’t believe they made a film about Facebook!” The quote I have heard many times and to be honest, was also my very initial reaction. Along with a film based on Monopoly supposedly being directed by Ridely Scott this idea came across as another big money making idea by the rich film power hierarchy. How far away could I have been. Instead how about a flash and insight into, not only, obviously, one of the biggest and recent social developments but also into what could very easily become one of the biggest stories of modern history. To film and record a true story of which revolves around a social tool nearly every person living in the UK can relate to is clearly in the realm of culturally important. Not only was this film created for entertainment but also for the history books. That’s much more than, “a film about Facebook”

Director David Fincher was an obvious big name with a proven ability to tackle such a challenge and his creation is a film, I can easily say, while not for everybody, is still of excellence. I would like to mainly address the issue of which people would find this film a struggle. To hopefully, help you to decide to see it or not.

Sometimes target audiences can be very specific. An example, discussed with a friend earlier today, if you are a female dancer, everything about Happy Feet falls in your path, quite simply the film for you! For myself, studying forensic computing, containing both technical and legal aspects this is quite clearly that film for me. From the beginning we are thrown straight into very technical jargon as we see Mark Zuckerberg (Adventurelands, Jesse Eisenberg), in very specific detail, ‘hacking’ into the Harvard systems. These scenes will just fly over so many people, I was in the very fortunate, and arguably sad position to understand pretty much everything explained. This thought then needs to be placed alongside Mark Zuckerberg’s personality. There is no denying that Mark Zuckerberg is a very clever guy, and this film depicts the typical cinematical view into the life and mind of a genius. Wild, crazy and hard to follow. He comes across as mentally all over the place, unable to discuss just one subject at one time and over analysing every small detail of every subject that comes up in conversation. He speaks very short and very fast and it can come across as a struggle to sometimes keep up, the obvious comparison that comes to mind is a very bright Napoleon Dynamite. I think from these two points alone people can begin to grasp the feel and tempo of the film. If these sort of qualities don’t appeal to you, I think this film can come across as a struggle, certainly as the concentration required just increases. Time changes from the past, dealing with the creation and early years of facebook to the current day where Zuckerberg is caught in two different legal cases. I personally found no difficulty in following it but it did require a good amount of attention. Once more specific legal details are then being discussed there appears no end to the technical grit this films puts across.

However, to counter all this, the characters all come across as unique and interesting. The whole story is dramatised to keep the viewers interest and, the story is based, not only on computers, money and business but also, unforgettably, students. Drinking, drugs, sex and parties certainly make an enjoyable and different aspect to the film. The humour is another strong point for the film. Sure you have to deal with all the jargon to make it through to the handful of hysterical moments but there are very clever and simply funny moments splashed throughout the film.

I very much enjoyed the film although, as discussed it appealed to me on many levels. It can come across as heavy going but lightly dashed with moments which make the effort worthwhile. It is also a fantastic insight to a piece of very modern history. The story clearly is and has been quoted as dramatised however the truth is certainly at its core and the ethical and legal aspects it raises as conversation are very interesting. There do appear to be holes throughout explanations though, the film certainly does not provide enough evidence to be able to come to a legal conclusion. It is still very, to quote myself, technically gritty however the character depth and humours moments back it also accessible to others. I really don’t think this film is for everybody, I would be interested to hear what others have to say but, for “a film about facebook” it certainly has more than enough in it to provide a fascinating two hour film.

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If we are not willing to forgo our ignorance and build our knowledge, then what worth do we have? Yes, I bet you didn’t expect that for an opening line. But it’s relevant. You see, today we’re talking about Inglourious Basterds, the doubly-misspelled new Quentin Tarantino film, and what word of God has described as a spaghetti western set in World War 2 (well, technically, with WW2 iconography, but that’s just director speak for the same thing).
So what does that mean? Let’s dive into history and find out. The Western genre was, in its early glory days, a genre of dramatic but ultimately well-ended tales, many of which featured John Wayne killin’ Indians. Spaghetti westerns came later, are so named because they’re often created under the helm of Italian directors and producers, and gave us a much different, darker view of the old west, concerning characters with complex motivations, tense stand-offs and a certain amount of black humour. They weren’t necessarily dark films, but they were something of a stain the idea of the old west that Hollywood would have us believe, and indeed are probably a lot closer to how the west was actually won.
In fact, a lot of the iconography (check me out) of the films I saw put me in mind of something else, namely the dystopian landscape of the game Fallout 3, in which a new generation of America, the survivors of a nuclear apocalypse, scratch out a living in a largely lawless and lifeless inhospitable wasteland. And whilst the old American west was threatened by the colonists of America, who were in the attempt of taming it (and would ultimately succeed), Fallout 3’s own Wasteland is also under threat from a remarkably more sinister variation of the American government (although for a given value of threat; you might argue that the colonists were far worse than Fallout’s Enclave). In the end, the result is of a desolate nation, something that people fight for and live rough lives for, but to an outside observer doesn’t really seem worth it. Who wants all that damn sand??
By this point, you’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with Inglourious Basterds, and the answer is, absolutely nothing. I’ve just flown off on a tangent, and whether it will return to actually prove to have been worth the effort is still up in the air, so by all means let’s carry on and find out.

If we are not willing to forgo our ignorance and build our knowledge, then what worth do we have? Yes, I bet you didn’t expect that for an opening line. But it’s relevant. You see, today we’re talking about Inglourious Basterds, the doubly-misspelled new Quentin Tarantino film, and what word of God has described as a spaghetti western set in World War 2 (well, technically, with WW2 iconography, but that’s just director speak for the same thing).

So what does that mean? Let’s dive into history and find out. The Western genre was, in its early glory days, a genre of dramatic but ultimately well-ended tales, many of which featured John Wayne killin’ Indians. Spaghetti westerns came later, are so named because they’re often created under the helm of Italian directors and producers, and gave us a much different, darker view of the old west, concerning characters with complex motivations, tense stand-offs and a certain amount of black humour. They weren’t necessarily dark films, but they were something of a stain the idea of the old west that Hollywood would have us believe, and indeed are probably a lot closer to how the west was actually won.

In fact, a lot of the iconography (check me out) of the films I saw put me in mind of something else, namely the dystopian landscape of the game Fallout 3, in which a new generation of America, the survivors of a nuclear apocalypse, scratch out a living in a largely lawless and lifeless inhospitable wasteland. And whilst the old American west was threatened by the colonists of America, who were in the attempt of taming it (and would ultimately succeed), Fallout 3’s own Wasteland is also under threat from a remarkably more sinister variation of the American government (although for a given value of threat; you might argue that the colonists were far worse than Fallout’s Enclave). In the end, the result is of a desolate nation, something that people fight for and live rough lives for, but to an outside observer doesn’t really seem worth it. Who wants all that damn sand??

Shut up and get on with the review, punk

Shut up and get on with the review, punk

By this point, you’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with Inglourious Basterds, and the answer is, absolutely nothing. I’ve just flown off on a tangent, and whether it will return to actually prove to have been worth the effort is still up in the air, so by all means let’s carry on and find out.

Funnily enough, there are a few thematic similarities between the old west, Fallout’s Capital Wasteland and the world that Tarantino presents for us. All are presented as wastelands, literally in Fallout’s case, governed by local and corrupt authority, and any essence of morality  is distilled, warped and turned thoroughly upside down. For example, the key unfolding plot of Inglourious Basterds is that of two different diabolical plots to decapitate the German high command whilst they attend a cinema premier for a new propoganda film (twice in a row I’ve been to see a film where a cinema gets blown up, does that mean something?). And of course, that pertains to the moral question, if you could kill Hitler and save the Jews, does that make one murder justified?

There’s quite a bit of this morality wrangling, in fact. One of the main plotlines follows the Inglourious Basterds of the film’s title, a group of mostly American soldiers led by Brad Pitt, as they drop into occupied France and start scalping Nazis, which is not really that nice a thing to do. So the Nazis aren’t that nice either, but still. Even more blatantly, Eli Roth, mastermind (and I use that word in a fairly loose sense) of the Hostel films, films primarily concerned with violence, is cast as a big Jew guy who beats the crap out of Nazis. Fucking subtle shit.

The moralising isn’t the main concern of the film, though, and actually, plot often seems to take a backseat of sorts to the development of scenes. Don’t get me wrong; the film is wordy and dialogue-reliant, and there’s plenty of exposition (though none of it wasted). The primary draw of Inglourious Basterds is the Tarantino trademark, and it’s easy to spot. Now that he’s done dicking around Killing Bill, the director is on true form drawing natural tension and drama from scenes, and situations tersely escalate from pleasantries to short, taut bouts of violence which is presented in some ways rather comically. Of particular note is the film’s opening sequence, where a polite conversation between two men sitting at a table becomes frankly agonising as it goes on and we wait for the other shoe to drop.. so to speak. Then there’s the moment where a lively bar becomes a morgue in the blink of an eye, after about twenty minutes of will-they won’t-they build up.

A massively significant image. If you know why, and haven't seen the film, congrats.

This point in particular being where it all goes to hell.

So yes, Inglourious Basterds is a violent film, but it’s quick and slick and  probably won’t cause too much stress on the more queasy amongst us. This sort of approach is also typical of those old spaghetti westerns, in which the effect of the tension was of far more importance than the violence, although the two go hand in hand to create effect. Case in point; A Fistful of Dollars, in which the Man With No Name has Ramon, Bad Guy of the Day at his mercy, but throws his gun down, putting them on even footing for a quick draw contest, because of a snarky comment Ramon made earlier in the film. Realistically, such a move makes no sense whatsoever, but it’s tense and fitting, and that’s what makes movies (and look at that, I did manage to draw the connection back around after all).

In another example of cheerfully showing off, you might note that other than Pitt, Mike Myers (I kid not) and (arguably) Roth, there are no famous names in this film. Tarantino has filled his piece with lots of people whom you might never have seen before. Is this bad? Well, it might not attract as many people, but when your name is Quentin Tarantino, you don’t have to be really concerned about that. And when the actors are this good, who cares? Of particular note are Melanie Laurent, who plays the proprietor of the cinema in question, a young Jewish woman who has no love lost for the Germans after they murdered her family, and Christoph Waltz as Hans Landa, the closest thing the film has to antagonist, a Jew-hunting detective of proportions approximate to Sherlock Holmes, only far meaner. Landa steals every scene he appears in, and though he is by no means a likeable character, he’s fucking remarkable.

Even crooks have to pay the rent

Even crooks have to pay the rent

Tarantino himself called Landa the greatest character he’s ever created, and it’s understandable. He is certainly not someone you would wish to meet down a dark alley, especially if you were Jewish. Especially if you were Jewish and hiding the fact that you were Jewish. Or if you were hiding Jews.

Skirting past that dangerously-close-to-inappropriate comment brings us of course to the fact that this is a faux pas; Tarantino’s rendition of World War 2 is by no means reliable. It is a pastiche, a mockery and a time of outright silliness in many respects, and the fairytale-esque nature of the film, particular after you’ve experienced it’s entirety, is sure to draw some ire as an uncouth rendition of what really happened, to be perceived as a film lacking in respect for the subject matter it draws attention from. This is a somewhat valid point, but then again, pastiche = mockery and mockery means that the mocker is fully aware of the travesty of such times, and this is how they show it. The argument might need some work, however.

Anyway, that’s enough from me. Inglourious Basterds, then, might not go down in history as Quentin Tarantino’s greatest film, because it lacks the breakout factor that Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction had; the establishment of his signature styles. But it represents clear growth and evolution of his art, and is by all means worth your time to see.

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Well, my first film after the major Hollywood beast of District 9 was a picture in the complete opposite direction. Cut the huge budget, cut the famous names, cut the… ok… they share unknown actors as the stars but the comparison ends there. I’m talking about the, bare bone, British film Fish Tank. My expectations were that it was going to be a classic British film and that it truly was.

The film is set in a council estate just outside Tilbury following the life of 15 year old Mia (Katie Jarvis). We see her dealing with her drunken mother who clearly has no respect for her children or motherhood, her expletive younger sister who seems unable to string a sentence together without the sounds of cursing or hatred pouring out, alongside the general happenings of typical stereotypical council estate British life. For those that have seen Shameless consider that, only with a slightly smaller family, for those that haven’t, you’re missing out!!

Mia is played fantastically by Katie Jarvis. Katie was actually cast the role in true grit British style when she was spotted by  a casting assistant when arguing with her boyfriend at Tilbury train station, a decision which could only go hand in hand with the film. Katie’s character Mia, is a very lonely character. Aside from her family she appears to have very few friends. This seems to be due to her spent up anger and hatred, shared by her sister, which just leads her to arguing with any other adolescent teen she comes across.  Mia is only truly happy when she is dancing in her broken down dance ‘studio’ in an empty flat above her block with a bottle of cider beside her.

Mia

The pace of this first part of the film does seem to move very slowly. As a viewer you spend a lot of time just watching Mia live scenes of her life. Even when she is simply watching somebody, the cameras are watching her. Due to this we get to experience Mia’s live at street level. We really get to see who Mia is but I feel, overall that, for the first part, this was done too strongly, simply leaving a very slow pace to the film. All this moaning can however be wiped aside because perseverance is our friend, this leads me to the introduction of Conor (Michael Fassbender), also the star of last year’s critically acclaimed best British film, Hunger.

Conor introduces himself to Mia, half naked in her kitchen as “a friend of your mums” due to the lifestyle she leads, that line was very much self explanatory, sex buddy/boyfriend. Mia’s reaction to seeing him however is like a girl falling in love for the very first time. She can’t take her eyes off him. He quickly becomes her best friend and a connection is created. The film follows on from here as Mia, encouraged by Conor applies for a job as a dancer. We also see Mia carry on dealing with her family, her life and now her relationship with Conor. Due to excellent work between Katie and Michael, the film really does seem to come into its own. You get whisked away into Mia’s life. The pace is still very much at street level, sometimes extremely literally, which leaves it still feeling rather slow, now however, with the increase in character number and story interest the story plays out excellently with some dramatic  scenes which play out to a real life feel ending.

There are heavy contradictions when considering this film concerning the points I have made, story and pace. The story picks up and makes the film yet I still came out feeling like something was missing. Like there so easily could have been a little more. But maybe that would have made it less like ‘real life’ and being a classically British film that’s what it was trying to achieve. None the less there certainly felt like something wasn’t there. The story does make this forgivable, I came out having really enjoyed it. I guess with expecting a good British film, that was what I was given and it certainly should be acclaimed for that. As I said at the beginning “My expectations were that it was going to be a classic British film and that it truly was.”

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