For September’s Film Fight, we have three films…
First up, The Guest very quickly establishes that its tongue is firmly in cheek and that, despite the unease and tension in some scenes, it is not to be taken seriously. Doing this early was a good move, as it can then play scenes as knowing, rather than misjudged. The film finds just the right balance of dark comedy, home-intruder horror, and outright action for the mix to work. Enjoyable. (See my The Guest Twitter review).
While the slow burn of a spy thriller can be rewarding, A Most Wanted Man is not. It has the hallmarks of the genre: a slow, methodical build-up of misdirection, double-agents and deep-planning. It fails to pay-off on any of it. Maybe that was the intended punch-line, that sometimes these cat-and-mouse games don’t work, but to the viewer the lack of any real dramatic moment meant it was largely dull. Boring. (See my A Most Wanted Man Twitter review).
Finally, Before I Go To Sleep has a lingering and sad atmosphere, every scene filled up with a sense of mourning for a life that has been forgotten. Nicole Kidman is fantastic as a woman filling in the details of her former life day-on-day; with Colin Firth and Mark Strong both giving good performances. While the ending is overly saccharine, and oddly out of place, the majority of this film is excellent. Beautifully shot, well acted, and with an interesting narrative. Must watch. (See my Before I Go To Sleep Twitter review).
The obvious winner is Before I Go To Sleep, for its strong performances and great direction.