Film reviews and more

Cannes 2021: Nitram review

★★★★☆ Justin Kurzel first made his name with his breakout film Snowtown, a true crime murder story that shone an unflattering light on small town Australia. Following some missteps, Nitram is a solid return to form as well as a return to similar territory. It is based on the Port Arthur massacre, the 1996 mass killing that cost the […]

Cannes 2021: Casablanca Beats review

★★★★☆ Positive School is the name of an arts centre in the heart of Sidi Moumen, a suburb of Casablanca. It’s hard to find. New teacher Anas (Anas Basbousi) drives down a labyrinth of small streets before coming across it. Here, he finds a classroom of students from different backgrounds united in their love of hip-hop but an administration […]

Cannes 2021: Memoria review

★★★★☆ Apichatpong Weerasethakul has been a stalwart of the arthouse circuit since his Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives won the Palme d’Or back in 2010. The Thai independent filmmaker has returned with Memoria, a beguiling and hypnotic and occasionally boring piece of work. Touted inaccurately as Weerasethakul’s first English language film, Memoria is set in Colombia […]

Cannes 2021: Red Rocket review

★★★★☆ Sean Baker is quickly establishing himself as one of the finest filmmakers in America today. With Starlet, Tangerine and The Florida Project, he has already displayed a precise and empathetic eye for those living the hardscrabble life at the skuzzy end of the American Dream. Baker’s latest, Red Rocket, tells the story of Mikey (Simon Rex), a down-on-his […]

Cannes 2021: A Hero review

★★★★☆ No good deed goes unpunished, and such is the case for Rahim (Amir Jadidi), the protagonist of Asghar Farhadi’s A Hero. Imprisoned for debt, he is on two-day leave when he meets up with his girlfriend Farkhondeh (Sahar Goldust) who might just have the answer to his problems. She’s found a handbag full of gold coins and together they […]

Cannes 2021: Hit the Road review

★★★★★ A family car journey isn’t always an enticing premise – either for a film or in real life. But in Panah Panahi’s feature debut Hit the Road, the ride is one that both the audience and the family featured probably wish would last forever. It’s an intimate, frequently funny, poignant and deeply moving piece of work. We begin […]

Cannes 2021: Flag Day review

★★☆☆☆ Despite having retired from acting and directing in order to concentrate on writing awful novels, Sean Penn – like a bad Steven Soderbergh – is back once again. Returning to Cannes after the thrashing his last film, 2016’s The Last Face, received, Penn is either a masochist or a recidivist and the kindest thing to say straight off […]

Cannes 2021: Small Body review

★★★★☆ Agata (Celeste Cescutti) is a young woman who gives birth to a stillborn child. She lives on the coast of Veneto in North East Italy in a deeply religious community where the priest assures her that the unbaptised baby is now in limbo where she will stay for eternity. The year is nominally 1900 but with their tradition […]

Cannes 2021: After Yang review

★★★★☆ The lexicon of the ‘robot’ – taken from the Polish word for ‘worker’ – has gone through multiple evolutions and conceptual changes, frequently reflecting the concerns of the times. From android to replicant, it has proven an effective mirror, a Turing test to try and figure out the essential element of being human; behind which lies the anxiety […]

Cannes 2021: The Worst Person in the World review

★★★★☆ Finding your way in the postmodern world isn’t always easy. The answers might be different but the questions are perennial. Do I settle down or play the field? Am I looking for a soulmate or adventure? What do I do with my life? Do I want a baby and if so when? In Joachim Trier’s new romantic comedy […]

Cannes 2021: The Souvenir Part II review

★★★★★ Perhaps the biggest difference between The Souvenir and Part II is its shift towards comedy. Whereas the first film charted the doomed love affair of Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne), the aspiring film student, and Anthony (Tom Burke), who might work for the Foreign Office or might be a compulsive liar as well as a confirmed drug addict, this […]

Cannes 2021: Everything Went Fine review

★★★☆☆ A bland title – much like a bland line of conversation – can hide an abyss the way a household fridge can hide a corpse. François Ozon is a master at this kind of observational understatement that touches on something deeper. For instance, in his new film Everything Went Fine – based on Emmanuèle Bernheim’s novel of the […]