London Film Festival 2013


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Ilo Ilo (B) Winner of Camera D’Or at Cannes, Anthony Chen shows his intuition for a close portrait of a family that never feels discriminatory in material. Some performances can be limiting after long, but overall terrific time travel back to the affecting economic struggle in 1997 Singapore.

Floating Skyscrapers (C) Average sexual identity flick that gets a bit too caught up with deliberately withholding the interesting moments of openness its characters could display, opting instead for overly spectator reliant leads.

Victim (A-) Only one Victim could’ve been made in history, and Basil Dearden certainly made the finest one there could’ve been. Is there a moment more heartbreaking than Dirk Bogarde telling his wife that she has to leave him forever?

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The Past (B) Asghar Farhadi continues in his effort to perfect a contemporary realist style, only slightly missing the mark here in what feels like a little too empty family drama. Nonetheless, brilliantly acted & naturally flowing story engages.

Abuse of Weakness (D+) Isabelle Huppert channels director Catherine Breillat in a bizarre performance that, like the film, leaves a cold distance not aided by a too matter of factly aesthetic.

The Selfish Giant (A-) Loosely adapted from an Oscar Wilde short story, works on so many levels but the most powerful is the chemistry between Conner Chapman and Shaun Thomas. Whilst they dazzle, Clio Barnard could simply let the camera roll but shows a definite skill for escalating ominous threats to their devastating fates.

Night Moves (C-) It’s such a shame that Kelly Reichardt lets Night Moves fall so low after a wholly impressive first half. Gripping environmental terrorism puzzle is put together to reveal a mediocre criminal guilt complex thriller.

Blue is the Warmest Colour (B) Exasperating as the romance between Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux, an emphatic on screen representation of the explosive intimacy, consuming attachment and ultimately fatal desperation of young love.

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My Fathers, My Mother and Me (B-) Paul-Julien Roberts uses documentary as therapy to fully (and seethingly) tell the story of his traumatic childhood growing up in an Austrian commune amongst a tyrannic, pedophilic artist and the hundreds of parents who succumbed to the utmost level of conformity.

The Double (B+) Michael Cera’s agent was on holiday when the offer for this was going round, so Jesse Eisenberg steps in for him. Ayoade further displays a great eye and an even better ear for film with this charming absurdist Dostoevsky adaptation.

The Zero Theorem (A-) Utterly marvellous treat from Gilliam, who now, surely, stands as the closest equivalent to a 21st century Luis Bunuel. Acts as a sort of spin off from Brazil, both being fascinated with the mundanity of fantasy and it’s inexorable enslavement to reality, to identity and to society.

Camille Claudel 1915 (B-) Bruno Dumont places boundaries everywhere for his audience as well as Camille (Juliette Binoche), whose fundamental loneliness in a secluded mental hospital drives her to capriciousness, although her foggy past suggests this is only just blossoming like a flower through concrete.

Hello Carter (F) A seriously misguided, cataclysmically poor attempt to cash in on the already cynical enough Richard Curtisian sense of British comedy.

The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears (D) A quickly tiring cult thriller composed mostly of characters peering curiously followed by a slice of visceral montage and masochistic imagery.

Afternoon Delight (E) Lazily shows no authentic chemistry between characters yet assumes our attachment and takes it from there to a place so restricted by a liberal, middle class mindset it offers no perspective that isn’t predictable or shallow.

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Sixteen (D) Some sweet moments scatter this semi gritty East London thriller, semi romance, semi redemption story, though neither of the 3 segments grab

Leave To Remain (C) Tries hard not to be pro-pro-immigration but can’t quite get there, still a worthwhile East London collective drama spearheaded by Toby Jones and a caressing soundtrack from Alt J.

The Armstrong Lie (B) Unbelievable access to one of the most famous sports stars and easy target for media witch hunts. Alex Gibney paces this doc on professional cycling as well as the eponymous scandal with panache.

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