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Archive for July 27th, 2009

Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg antichristCharlotte Gainsbourg antichristWillem Dafoe antichrist

antichrist 

I Just got back from seeing Antichrist, this review is going to be brief as what I have just seen hasn’t sunk in yet. Firstly it isn’t as brutal, violent or as sexual as the reviews would have you believe (review is probably not the correct word as the idiot who wrote this article hasn’t seen the film), only three people walked out of a surprisingly busy screening! The story is broken into chapters like Dogville and Manderlay, this is an interesting intrusion into the narrative. Other than the physical break of a card naming each chapter the narrative doesn’t change any more than in any other film. The narative is about a couple (a brilliant Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg)coming to terms with the death of their young son. A lot has been made of the sex scenes and how the BBFC has passed the film uncut. In truth there isn’t actually that much sex in the film and it isn’t as graphic as you would expect but more importantly it is absolutely integral to the plot. The same can be said for the violence, taken out of context it is mild in comparison to “torture porn” films like Hostel, put into context it is far stronger because it is so personal. The film is often difficult to watch both because of the events portrayed and the jarring sound reminiscent of Irreversible. This is contrasted with hypnotic visuals and amazing photography that you can’t take your eyes off by Oscar winning cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle. The narrative is full of symbolism that is never explained. This is the clever device as viewers will take different things from it. I really can’t say any more without giving too much plot away.

In conclusion it is not a film I can totally recommend as many viewers will hate it but I would suggest you should give it a go, the worst thing that could happen is that you walk out of the cinema/turn the DVD off having wasted a small amount of time and money. It is worth the risk as you may get something out of the film. If you have enjoyed other films by Lars von Trier this is a more extreme example of what he has been doing for years if you haven’t seen any of his earlier films there are easy ways into his work. It is also reminiscent of the work of Michael Haneke so if you dislike his films keep well clear.

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Before Batman

Before superheroes, magicians, police men who can’t sleep and even before the insurance investigator with memory problems Christopher Nolan made an independent film called Following.  Shot in stark black and white and coming in at just over an hour it was the directors feature début.  Shot during free time around the cast and crew’s day jobs the film took over a year to film and was made for a tiny budget believed to be less than £6,000.

following

A young man who is an aspiring but unemployed writer starts following people in the street looking for inspiration until one day he is confronted by a person he is following.  The man calling himself Cobb explains that he is a thief.  The man starts going with Cobb when he breaks into houses.  Things get complicated when he starts a relationship with a young women whose house they have burgled.  But are things as they seem to be?  Of course not this is a film and a Christopher Nolan film at that!

The acting can be a little forced and amateurish at times *(see note on actors at the end) but the photography is suitably moody making it an interesting little film.  The film is not put together in linear order helping to keep the viewer interested as the story is revealed.  A technique that has since been used in films like 21 Grams as well as Nolan’s Memento.  The film ends with a good twist that is clearly signposted for the viewer letting us revel in the protagonists misfortune as the inevitable unfolds.  I am not overstating it when I say ending is reminiscent of Hitchcock in its delivery.  A good début film that shows signs of the director’s future brilliance.

*(Since the film was made over a decade ago Jeremy Theobald (The Young Man) has made an appearance in The Bill and had a tiny part in Nolan’s Batman Begins.  It is Alex Haw’s (Cobb) only known screen job.  Lucy Russell (The Blonde) has made a decent career regularly appearing in film and on television.)

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