Film reviews and more

Glasgow 2021: Surge review

★★★☆☆ Finding Ben Whishaw at his most electric and engrossing best, Surge sees an airport security official a long way past the end of his rope and on a collision course with disaster. Aneil Karia’s debut feature is (intentionally) uncomfortable […]

Glasgow 2021: Gunda review

★★★★★ There’s a joyous moment just after the hour mark of Gunda where two piglets experience rain for the first time. Sneaking to the threshold of their warm abode, full of curiosity, they look to the sky, and instinctively, playfully […]

Glasgow 2021: Sir Alex Ferguson: Never Give In review

★★★★☆ “Football, bloody hell!” Taciturn, but never a man to mince his words, only occasionally did the inscrutable exterior of Sir Alex Ferguson – one of football’s most fearsome managers – ever crack a smile. Directed by his son Jason, […]

Glasgow 2021: City Hall review

★★★★★ “The concept of resilience is a powerful one.” Channelling the fortitude and resolve with which his beloved city of Boston recovered from the 2013 marathon bombing, Mayor Marty Walsh’s words echo a key tenet of Frederick Wiseman’s City Hall. […]

Glasgow 2021: Wildland review

★★★☆☆ Ostensibly a remake of David Michôd’s outstanding 2010 film Animal Kingdom, Jeanette Nordahl’s Wildland transposes the action of a Melbourne crime family’s nefarious enterprise to leafy Danish suburbia. Bringing both her experience as assistant director on the popular political […]

Glasgow 2021: Sweetheart review

★★★☆☆ Whether you’re completely lost or simply taking the scenic route, coming-of-age stories tend to be just as much about the journey as their destination. Though it may not stray too far off a well-beaten track, Marley Morrison’s feature debut […]

Glasgow 2021: Gagarine review

★★★★☆ In the opening moments of Fanny Liatard and Jérémy Trouilh’s Gagarine, news footage from the early 1960s shows Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin opening an Ivry-sur-Seine housing estate, dedicated in his honour. Wide-eyed boys, chasing the stars, excitedly declare that […]

Glasgow 2021: Shorta review

★★★☆☆ Open a film with a close-up of a young black man screaming “I can’t breathe,” his neck under the knee of a policeman, and you better back it up with a social critique worthy and respectful of as shocking […]

Glasgow 2021: Jumbo review

★★☆☆☆ Close encounters of an unusual kind shake Jeanne (Noémie Merlant) to her core in Zoé Wittock’s debut feature Jumbo. With the ground literally trembling beneath her feet, strange sounds and sensations take hold at an amusement park where the […]

Glasgow 2021: My Wonderful Wanda review

★★★☆☆ The glossy veneer of fame, fortune and respectability of a well-to-do family rapidly loses its shine in Bettina Oberli’s My Wonderful Wanda. A sinister-turned-bittersweet human drama told in three acts, chapter one begins as Wanda (Agnieszka Grochowska) arrives in […]

Glasgow 2021: Steelers review

★★★☆☆ A loving ode to a pioneering, life-changing team, Steelers: The World’s First Gay Rugby Club is a courageous, invigorating account of struggles on, but mostly off the field of play. Formed in King’s Cross in the mid 1990s, the […]

Glasgow 2021: Riders of Justice review

★★★★☆ The old saying goes that a problem shared is a problem halved. The maths of this is not an exact science in Anders Thomas Jensen’s Riders of Justice, but an unlikely band of misfit brothers in arms – a […]

Glasgow 2021: Murmur review

★★★★☆ Murmur – a patient, probing, profoundly moving exploration of one woman’s battle against past demons and crippling loneliness – announces first-time writer-director Heather Young as a voice for the future. The Nova Scotian filmmaker’s debut feature demonstrates compassionate, composed […]

Glasgow 2021: The Last Ones review

★★☆☆☆ The savage beauty of Finland’s northernmost reaches provides a stunning backdrop for Estonian director Veiko Õunpuu’s The Last Ones. Never coming close to matching the majesty of its surroundings, this misguided, tonally muddled frontier drama goes nowhere. Trouble above […]

Glasgow 2021: Castro’s Spies review

★★★☆☆ With store-bought equipment, a woeful budget, cheap cars and cheaper apartments, the undercover lives of the Cuban Five could not have been further from the gadgetry and jet-setting high life of James Bond. Putting faces to the names of […]

Glasgow 2021: Spring Tide review

★★★☆☆ Three female members of a family struggle with multi-generational secrets, trauma and the hardships of motherhood in Yang Lina’s Spring Tide. The Chinese filmmaker, whose past work lies predominantly in documentary, inspects the past, present and future of a […]

Glasgow 2021: My Favorite War review

★★★☆☆ Bookended by visits to the same stretch of coastline under very different circumstances, Ilze Burkovska Jacobsen’s My Favorite War makes a perilous journey into her nation’s past through the eyes of an artist – or in her case journalist […]

Glasgow 2021: In the Shadows review

★★★★☆ An isolated, run-down coal mine, enclosed by high-sided valley walls, is the forbidding, dystopian setting of Erdem Tepegöz’s impressive third feature, In the Shadows. Shackled not so much by the harshness of their physical surroundings, but unseen omnipotent forces […]