November 05, 2009 | Category: Uncategorized

Film Fight: August 2009

August was a particularly good month for cinema, with three films that all brought something different to their audiences…

Antichrist is, too put it mildly, a difficult film. It’s beautifully shot, with some incredible looking scenes and imagery, and the artistry throughout is of the highest quality. Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg both live their parts near flawlessly, even when the film becomes surreal around them. All of that said, this is not a film for the faint-hearted. The themes at its core are adult (dealing with the death of a child and the guilt around that, self-mutilation, original sin), and the exploration is extremely graphic. It’s not what you might consider “entertainment”, which is obviously not the only purpose of cinema, it is a hard-hitting work of art and worthy of its critical acclaim. (See my Antichrist Twitter review).

Jacques Mesrine, we learn very early on in Mesrine: Killer Instinct, is a self-involved but charismatic risk-taker. Vincent Cassel is well cast as the brutal gangster in this biopic (the first of two parts), showing his incredibly ugly side as a womanising, evil criminal as well as his enthralling take-on-the-world attitude. The pacing is good, moving relatively quickly, and the film as a whole, from the acting to the directing, is well-observed. A good film. (See my Mesrine: Killer Instinct Twitter review).

Finally, Inglourious Basterds is probably the best movie Tarantino has made since Pulp Fiction. Set in an alternate World War II, you’d be forgiven for presuming that the movie follows the titular Basterds as they perform their special brand of guerrilla warfare behind enemy lines in Nazi-controlled France. Instead it splits the time evenly between their exploits, a Parisian-cinema owner (the sole survivor of a family wiped out by the Germans a few years earlier) and the absolutely fantastic Hans Landa (played by Christopher Waltz), an SS officer whose actions guide the course of the movie. It’s a great mix of over-the-top styling, excessive comic book violence and extremely tense moments. Often you know that something is going to go wrong in a scene, but Tarantino expertly draws the scene out more and more so that you’re never quite sure of the when. Absolutely top notch. (See my Inglourious Basterds Twitter review).

They’re all good movies in their own right, but I think it has to be Inglourious Basterds for it’s incredible dialogue and performances.