All posts filed under: LFF 2014

LFF 14: Winter Sleep (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2014)

I’ve always fallen victim to the Cannes juror’s choices for the Palme D’or. Whether that’s the intense work of Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon/Amour), or the liberating, affecting work of Kechiche, Exarchopoulos and Seydoux in last year’s La Vie d’Adele. 2014’s selection offered a great deal of ideas, and the jurors chose a winner with a great deal of ambition that pays off to a fair extent. A former actor runs a hotel with his young wife and sister in the barren Anatolian mountainside. When winter comes, the relationship between the man and his wife is put under great strain as the hotel turns into a place of ferocity and innate destruction. Winter Sleep is most certainly a tough nut to crack. It has a lack of progression that’s almost peaceful and immersive. All of its characters arrive at the hotel doorstep or are a short distance away; meaning this isn’t a film about exploration of the world, but rather of its people. The situation is entirely plausable, and the characters shockingly normal. Through them, …

Review: The Face of an Angel (Michael Winterbottom, 2014)

The Face of an Angel is, from the onset, brash and proud of its intentions. This is a film influenced by the case of Meredith Kercher’s murder that changes names and locations in order to save itself from the bother of the accused parents. As a result, the work doesn’t hold any bars in being borderline offensive, ridiculous and utterly nonsensical. A film director travels to Italy, eager to translate the tantalizing story of the murder of a young British student to the screen. His encounters with journalists, those in the know and a barmaid with an English heritage acts as influences upon how he wants to interpret the case on screen. Daniel Bruhl, usually on solid form, gives us an indulgent performance as the director working at the hands of a rather lazy production company. What could be a Fincher style tale of murder and corruption in an idyllic setting is instead a portrait of drug addiction, false interpretation of ‘students’, and an excuse to express the opinion of Kercher as the guilty one. …

LFF 14: Second Coming (Debbie Tucker Green, 2014)

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself nodding off during Debbie Tucker Green’s feature length debut. Her unremarkable approach to a complex lead character finds itself in lengthy moments of ‘cinematic silence’, giving you a chance to check your phone, rather than be beguiled by the screen. A boy on the verge of his teenage years. A father driven by his unsatisfying job. A mother and wife is reluctant to deliver the news to her family that she is expecting her second child. Featuring a series of natural performers in its lead trio, Second Coming has the opportunity to create a tentative piece of work with emotional intensity. Instead, it progresses with subtlety so strong that it loses its footing. It fails to find a middle ground between grabbing and muted, leaving with a mixed understanding of its tone – neither jubilant or depressing. Green’s observation of modern relationships in the city of London puts strong performers in a dull, forgettable situation.