Film reviews and more

London Film Festival

#LFF 2021: Paris, 13th District review

★★☆☆☆ Mid-way through Jacques Audiard’s criss-crossing critique of modern city life in Paris, 13th District, Émilie (Lucie Zhang) – out of work and in need of cash – is showing a prospective tenant around the apartment in which she lives. Part of the deal for this unsuspecting newcomer is that she will need to visit Émilie’s sick grandmother in a […]

#LFF 2021: Petite Maman review

★★★★★ A rich, autumnal gem of a film, Céline Sciamma’s Petite Maman effortlessly blends reality with fairytale, past with present, to explore notions of loss, grief and acceptance. At just 72 minutes, it is short and sweet, but yet another exquisitely made, deeply moving feature from the French writer-director. The film opens with a long take as eight year-old […]

#LFF 2021: Earwig review

★★★★☆ Lucile Hadžihalilović doesn’t make many films; Earwig being her third in almost twenty years. Yet in just three works, she has established herself as a filmmaker of uncompromising vision, the weird stories she tells focused on childhood, with strong elements of body horror. A film about a young girl with ice cubes for teeth, it’s befitting the pace of Earwig is glacial and […]

#LFF 2021: ear for eye review

★★★★★ A visionary crossover of the theatrical and the cinematic, ear for eye demonstrates writer-director debbie tucker green’s remarkable creative versatility and clarity of expression. Hitting the big screens of the London Film Festival and small screens of the BBC simultaneously, this fervent, eloquent work articulates the shared experiences and personal history of Black characters on both sides of […]

#LFF 2021: Belfast review

★★★★☆ Does a filmmaker use cinema as his or her own confessional booth or a darkened space in which to escape the harsh realities of the outside world? When the curtain closes and the lights go down on Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, it’s clear that this deeply autobiographical project is a vessel for both. With wit, grace and a sincere […]

#LFF 2021: Inexorable review

★★★★☆ Fabrice Du Welz’s sixth film Inexorable continues to explore his fascination with troubled souls. Here, it’s a young woman on a mission to destroy an author and his upper-class wife, for reasons which are kept tantalisingly opaque. Marcus Bellmer (Benoît Poelvoorde) is the writer of a hit novel. Married into old money, via his publisher wife (played by […]

#LFF 2021: The Phantom of the Open review

★★★☆☆ As fuzzy and reassuring as a multi-coloured Pringle sweater-vest, The Phantom of the Open is a good, old-fashioned crowd-pleaser. Based on a true story, it stars Mark Rylance as Maurice Flitcroft, a Barrow-in-Furness crane-operator turned novice golfer, who – on multiple occasions – blagged his way into the British Open. Earning himself the ignominious title of “The World’s […]

#LFF 2021: The Power of the Dog review

★★★★☆ Adapting American author Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel of the same name for the big screen, Kiwi writer-director Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog is a meditative yet punishing, slow-burning exploration of man’s animal instincts. Montana, 1925. Sprawling and loosely episodic, the film maintains a chaptered structure, and we meet the brothers Burbank, Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch) and George (Jesse Plemons), […]

#LFF 2021: Ron’s Gone Wrong review

★★★☆☆ Only viewers of a certain age will be familiar with the erratic sound of a dial-up modem firing into gear. It’s one of a whole host of pitch-perfect gags that litter new animation Ron’s Gone Wrong, a tender, frequently hilarious tale of unexpected friendships, growing self-assurance and analogue triumph in the digital age. A directorial team of Sarah Smith, […]

#LFF 2021: Sundown review

★★★★☆ After the large-scale brutality of political horror film New Order, Michel Franco returns with a low-key study in deceptive behaviour and enigmatic motives. Tim Roth headlines as a man attempting to escape his past and present, while on holiday in Mexico. Neil Bennett (Roth) is on holiday with Alice (Charlotte Gainsbourg), and two kids, Colin (Samuel Bottomley) and […]

#LFF 2021: Last Night in Soho review

★★☆☆☆ A nostalgic, blood and rain-splattered love letter to London and all that is and has ever been good, bad and decidedly ugly about the Big Smoke, Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho is, surprisingly, the director’s first film to appear at LFF. Constructed with his trademark panache, it is bold, bracing and stylish in both its aesthetics and […]

#LFF 2021: The First Wave review

★★★★☆ Radio static crackles and emergency responders report a growing number of calls. What begins as a steady stream is soon a torrent; at the Queens hospital where she works, Dr. Nathalie Dougé notes that from one or two patients displaying symptoms of a new, unknown and unpredictable virus one week, it is every single one the next. Within […]