October 01, 2011 | Category: Films

Film Fight 2011: September

Although there were a number of other films I’d like to have seen, I managed to see 4 films in September:

First up, Super 8 is a movie with a feel to it we haven’t seen in at least a decade. It’s a kids adventure film, in the mould of classics like The Goonies, updated slightly for modern sensibilities. At its heart, its a monster mystery about some kids making an amateur movie who get inadvertently involved in a massive cover-up. I’ll leave the mystery at that, but say that the execution is superb. JJ Abrams brings his usual directorial style of fast, moving action shots and lots of neat set-pieces. Its a little cheesy at times, but it’s a great film. (See my Super 8 Twitter review).

The Inbetweeners Movie is exactly what you’d expect: the near-to-the-knuckle, gross-out comedy of the TV show is transplanted into a setting that gives it a little more room. This isn’t ideal, though, as the plot and jokes are spread just a little to thin over the movie’s running time. It’s funny, but not fantastic, and if you hated the show this is not going to change your mind. (See my The Inbetweeners Movie Twitter review).

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, unlike most modern spy films, is glacially slow. Not entirely to its detriment, you understand, it’s deliberately deliberate. Everything about it is supposed to ground the story, that of an investigation into a high-ranking mole in 1970s British Intelligence, in reality is much as possible. This continues through the natural lighting used throughout (many scenes are lit primarily by nearby windows) and the muted performances. That is, unfortunately, the one big downfall of the movie. In trying to be as understated as it can, nothing gets a chance to really shine through other than the plot. While that’s refreshing in many ways, it seems a shame to have such an incredible cast without giving them anything they can use to stand out. Still, it’s a good movie, if a little disappointing. (See my Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Twitter review).

Finally, Drive is a uniquely confident driving movie. Rather than being driven with abrasive dialogue and big crashes, like the Fast and the Furious franchise, it’s got a remarkably light touch of the wheel. Ryan Gosling is excellent as the lead; a mysterious stunt and get-away driver who gets involved in something he shouldn’t. His character is relentlessly quiet, building a tension around everything he does, as you’ve no idea when he’ll react. The atmosphere is otherworldly, with a musical score like no other in recent memory, and when the action does happen its a masterclass in how car chases should be done. Some have described it as a modern day fairytale, and you can see elements of that, but it’s more of a modern day western, with Gosling as the strong, silent type who doesn’t start the fight, but will have no problem ending it. An excellent film. (See my Drive Twitter review).

While there were some great movies this month, Drive is the winner, as it’s just such a unique and refreshing film; a very good contender for film of the year.