Archives for posts with tag: thriller

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Stephen Frears offers more than a typical thriller and more than a typical survival story. Frears offers an invisible and anonymous London hiding away from mainstream society. The film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Okwe, an illegal immigrant from Nigeria with a dark past. He drives a minicab by day and works all night at a hotel, chewing on the Khat herb in order to stay awake. He rents a couch from Senay (Audrey Tautou), a Turkish Muslim who fled an arranged marriage. They both work at a hotel where they eventually realise not everything is as it seems. The film is very compelling, the narrative is something so current and factual and yet it feels very hidden. Many of the locations for example such as the cafe Okwe purchases Khat, Senay’s apartment and so on are unrecognisable and illustrates the desperation that illegal immigrants have to be hidden. Chris Menges as cinematographer offers a very bleak and dark film in terms of the setting. However, some scenes feel bright and more natural such as the hotel scenes which could emphasise how the immigrants are now being exposed to society. Dirty Pretty Things really portrayed the lives of immigrants very well, Frears clearly presents the fear that is always around them such as immigration officials pestering these hard working people who are desperate to survive. 

Ejiofor offers a brilliant performance, I can’t praise him enough for a stunning portrayal of a brave, charing and traumatised man. Okwe is such an interesting character who’s desperate to be a morally correct citizen all whilst remaining silent in his activities. Tautou also provides a fantastic performance as Senay. Both characters are thrusted into a dark underworld of deceit and exploitation which I can’t reveal but it’s shocking and despicable and made me feel deep sympathy with immigrants who get involved in dangerous surroundings. There isn’t much more to say about this film (I really don’t wanna spoil it!), other than it’s such a gripping film on the hardships of invisible people. Hats off to Frears!

4/5

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‘A day or a lifetime’ 

One of the Coen Brothers lesser known films in contrast to such great films such as the 2007 Academy Awards Best Picture winner ‘No Country For Old Men’, cult classic ‘The Big Lebowski’ and of course the very popular and critically acclaimed ‘Fargo’ which brought them popularity compared to their other great films in the past like ‘Blood Simple’, ‘Raising Arizona’ and…’Barton Fink’! Out of all the Coen Brothers films I have seen, ‘Barton Fink’ is definitely one of their best, and as usual they bring together so many aspects of film, one minute ‘Barton Fink’ felt like a Hitchcock film, then Kubrick, then a splash of noir, then comedy and even a spark of horror! 

The film is set in 1941 and stars John Turturro as the title character, an acclaimed playwright from New York who writes about and for “the common man”. He is then hired to write scripts a film studio in Hollywood, checks in the fading Hotel Earle and begins to suffer from writer’s block as he develops a friendship with his very friendly neighbour Charlie (John Goodman). There’s so much to this film which makes it so special. The many themes emphasised throughout are repeated over and over such as the dark contrasts between Hollywood and Broadway in that Hollywood is a much more manipulative place which obsesses over creative control over the notion of creating art. The Hotel Earle as an example of justification clearly presents that Barton wants to live somewhere “less Hollywood”. The Coen brothers frequent D.O.P. Roger Deakins provides beyond beautiful cinematography who creates an atmosphere within the hotel which I found profoundly unsettling such as the camera frequently returning to close ups of Barton stressed over writing his wrestling epic to his encounters with mosquitos and of course, returns again and again to the peeling wallpaper in Barton’s room which has a texture almost like decomposition. John Turturro gives an outstanding performance as Barton who clearly suggests the desperation of creating important art, not only that, but Turturro significantly implies that Barton can’t be a slave to a place like Hollywood. Frequent collaborator of the Coens, John Goodman portrayal of the common and larger than life Charlie is also very well played, providing a character who clearly has much less than Barton but seems to be the kind of guy who loves taking interest in people and helping someone in anyway he can. An astonishing piece of cinema and deserved winner of Best Director, Best Actor and the Palme d’Or at Cannes, I highly recommend watching if you’re love the work of the Coen Brothers or a fan of various genres of film. Enigmatic, disturbing and very funny!

5/5

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“This is not a horror film.”

Immediately after watching Berberian Sound Studio, I thought “this is something special from any other psychological thriller I’ve seen”. Indeed, Peter Strickland’s second film is a beautifully made triumph and a strange tribute to giallo horror!

The film is set in the 1970s and follows British sound technician Gilderoy (Toby Jones) being sent to Italy to work on a horror film called The Equestrian Vortex which we as the audience, never see, instead, we witness the grueling tasks of Gilderoy having to create the sounds of anguish and suffering through your average shopping basket such as melons being hacked to bits, cabbages being stabbed, blending tomato juice..you get the idea I hope! From then on, things get very out of hand with Gilderoy’s shift in his line of work as he becomes lost in a world of sound.

The film is without question, astonishing. I have to agree with Peter Bradshaw that this film definitely has a Lynchian feel to it with it’s unique dream sequences and explicit fear through not only Gilderoy, but also through Veronica (Susanna Cappellaro), a voice actress constantly under pressure and treated “like a whore” by the crew, who use various unorthodox methods to create the perfect, painful, frightening scream.

The music by the electronic group Broadcast provides a gorgeous representation of anxiety, not only through linking with the giallo film as Gilderoy does his magic; but also expresses his feelings on this dramatic change in contrast to working on softer works in his native land. Along with that, Jones delivers a spellbinding performance, presenting a timid man who has the magic to create any sound, including a very intimate scene creating UFO noises with a light bulb, all through candlelight! The cinematography by Nicholas D. Knowland is beyond interesting, offering close knit shots of fear through Gilderoy and Veronica and of course, the precious items to destroy! All of this is seen whilst edited by Chris Dickens to give an almost exploitative like feeling to this very dark film. This is certainly a very unusual thriller but alluring and left me in shock and awe to it’s originality! Weird, immersive and original. Berberian Sound Studio is something else, and something else worth I would highly recommend seeing. A top class piece of madness!

5/5