July 03, 2011 | Category: Films

Film Fight 2011: June

June was quite a quiet month, with only two films viewed.

First off, Stake Land manages to fumble a reasonable premise and some early good will, by trying to do far too much. Set in a world that has been destroyed by a vampiric plague, we see early on that the film is capable of stylish and brutal action sequences, as set in motion by the no-nonsense protagonist, Mister. Throughout, these are the film’s saving grace. However, the film-makers spend so much time world-building and setting up lots of tiny little sub-plots, they forgot to really develop any of them, or to build up most of the characters to the point that we care what happens to them. It feels like they were sticking out plot points for a TV series with the intention of fleshing them out over dozens of hours, but were instead forced to take what they had and film it for around two hours. A real shame. (See my Stake Land Twitter review).

Finally, Senna was an interesting documentary on Ayrton Senna, one of Formula One’s all-time greats. In contrast with most modern documentaries, there’s no talking-head footage, and no narrated “story”. Instead we get lots of archive footage (of which they obviously had more of than for most other subjects) and minimal use of interview audio from his family and friends, with the emphasis heavily on trying to tell the story with period materials. This works tremendously well, building up his rivalries, triumphs and downfalls in a natural fashion. It’s a little slow-paced in the middle, but keeps you interested every time Senna gets a bad break. Very good. (See my Senna Twitter review).

With those two films, there really could only be one winner: Senna. A fine documentary, and an interesting subject.