Film Review: No Stone Unturned

★★★☆☆ Alex Gibney’s latest project, No Stone Unturned, is a mysterious, gripping re-opening of the unsolved 1994 Loughinisland massacre investigation. It is told with characteristic precision, compassion and determination by its prolific director. Searching for needles in haystacks has long been Gibney’s metier but here the smoke and mirrors of governmental complicity and the thick…

Film Review: North by Northwest

★★★★★ Trouble lurks around every corner in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 thriller North by Northwest. Sinister motives, international espionage and a captivating beauty have ad exec Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) on the run from the law across the USA.Throughout his career the Master of Suspense frequently pushed innocent, unsuspecting men into hot water. From The 39…

Film Review: Loving Vincent

★★★★☆ Meticulously crafted over a seven-year period, Loving Vincent is a visually wondrous biographical ode to the great impressionist and an animation like no other, comprised of 65,000 frames individually hand-painted by over one hundred artists. The sheer ambition and scope of this labour of love is an astonishing achievement. The screen shimmers as a…

#LFF 2017: Zama review

★★★★★ Based on Antonio di Benedetto’s 1956 novel, Lucrecia Martel’s Zama is a beguiling, haunting, comic indictment of the ills of colonialism. Centred on the existential woes of a lowly magistrate, it examines the crushing stasis and ultimate evil of empire.An allegorical reckoning of perpetual struggle, recounted to the eponymous Don Diego de Zama (Daniel…

#LFF 2017: A Prayer Before Dawn review

★★★★☆ Pulling no punches in telling the true story of Scouse ne’er-do-well Billy Moore’s three years in Bangkok’s infamous Klong Prem Prison, Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire’s A Prayer Before Dawn wins points for its unerring depiction of the brutality of incarceration. The film is an unflinching, punishing spectacle which drops us in to the thick of a…

#LFF 2017: Journeyman review

★★★☆☆ Few British actors can lay claim to the kind of performance which we have come to expect and appreciate from Paddy Considine. Journeyman, which Considine writes, directs and stars in as champion boxer Matty Burton, is further proof of his impressive versatility.Six years on from the near unanimous praise for his directorial debut Tyrannosaur,…

#LFF 2017: Princess Cyd review

★★★★★ Billed as the coming-of-age story of an adolescent American teenage girl, Princess Cyd is so much more. Told with tenderness and a perceptive humanist eye by writer-director Stephen Cone, his latest film is an affecting exploration of loss, love and trauma.Disproving any kind of ludicrous notion that a male director is incapable of crafting…

#LFF 2017: Mountain review

★★★☆☆ Inexpressibly beautiful, breathtaking yet terrifying images from snow-capped peaks and vertical cliff faces dominate Jennifer Peedom’s latest documentary Mountain, which explores the magnetic pull exercised by these perilously dangerous summits. A meditation on the potential held, respect demanded and inherent risks in scaling such heights is coupled with a swift history of human kind’s…

#LFF 2017: My Friend Dahmer review

★★★☆☆ “What do you want to be when you grow up?” A not uncommon question to pose to a group of teens approaching the end of high school. But in Marc Meyers’ My Friend Dahmer, the words reverberate chillingly thanks to its now notorious principal subject.Sitting uncomfortably with the knowledge of what Jeffrey Dahmer would…

#LFF 2017: The Final Year review

★★★★☆ Chronicling the last twelve months of Barack Obama’s tenure, Greg Barker’s The Final Year is an intimate, earnest and insightful expose of the key players of his departing administration and the legacy left in his wake as the world enters the Trump era.From charting the day-to-day workings of Obama’s close-knit team of advisers as…

#LFF 2017: The Breadwinner review

★★★★☆ Delighting in the ancient tradition of storytelling as a means of education and understanding as well as entertainment, Nora Twomey’s The Breadwinner is a richly animated jewel set in the desolate, Taliban-ruled Kabul of 2001 in the run-up to war.Parvana, voiced with maturity and conviction by Canadian newcomer Saara Chaudry, is caught between the…

#LFF 2017: Battle of the Sexes review

★★★☆☆ Tennis drama Battle of the Sexes is a retelling of Billie Jean King’s famous titular match against Bobby Riggs in 1973. It’s also an exploration of the off-court issues of chauvinism, inequality and prejudice which enveloped the high profile encounter.Ably handled with humour, tenderness and sincerity by the directorial doubles pairing of Jonathan Dayton…