Film reviews and more

Rory O’Connor

Film Review: Mr. Jones

★★★☆☆ Mr. Jones isn’t just middlebrow – it’s the middle of the middlebrow: core-brow; nucleus-brow. Agnieszka Holland’s lengthy but invariably engaging new film concerns the real-life story of Welsh reporter Gareth Jones’ journey to Moscow and Ukraine in 1933 and his discovery there of the Holodomor – otherwise known as the Ukrainian Genocide or Famine. It looks, feels and […]

Berlin 2019: Hellhole review

★★★★☆ In Michael Haneke’s Code Unknown, Juliette Binoche’s character Anne rides the Paris metro and is spat at by a young man with darker skin. In Bas Devos’ Hellhole, Alba Rohrwacher’s character rides the underground in Brussels and looks on as armed police survey her fellow passengers, who also have darker skin. In Haneke’s pre-9/11 film the European dream of […]

Berlin 2019: The Souvenir review

★★★★☆ At an early point in The Souvenir, the protagonist explains that filmmaking is, for her, a form of therapy. The Souvenir itself might be a form of therapy for Joanna Hogg, who wrote and directed it and has since said that she based her script directly on her own experiences. The woman’s name is Julie and is played […]

Berlin 2019: I Was at Home, But review

★★★★☆ Angela Schanelec’s latest film I Was at Home, But opens on some reassuring farmyard animals. A dog chases a rabbit. Another dog lies sleeping. A donkey looks out the window of a weathered old house. Life is simple and time is slow. More than you can say, however, for the film’s protagonist, a woman who recently lost her […]

Film Review: Monos

★★★★☆ In Monos, a diverse group of hormonal teenage soldiers man an isolated outpost during an unseen war. Their station is a misty mountaintop dotted with monolithic concrete structures. It is said to be somewhere in Colombia but could easily be mistaken for the Scottish highlands. They’re tasked with watching over a POW who is an American doctor. They’re […]

Berlin 2019: The Golden Glove review

★★★☆☆ The seemingly unlikely tale of how Fatih Akin’s The Golden Glove got greenlit, funded and selected for competition at the Berlinale warrants further investigation. The German-Turkish director of The Cut and In The Fade has never shied away from hot button topics, nor has he ever beat around the bush when it comes to the darker corners of […]

Berlin 2019: Out Stealing Horses review

★★★☆☆ Hans Petter Moland is a peculiarity: a Norwegian born and based filmmaker of unmistakably American genre sensibilities. His 2014 film In Order of Disappearance was a darkly comic western revenge flick with more than a little of the Coen brothers about it – not least in the character played by Stellen Skarsgård, who roamed the snowy wilderness like an […]

Berlin 2019: Our picks of the programme

The 69th edition of the Berlin International Film Festival kicks off this week (7-17 February) with Lone Scherfig’s The Kindness of Strangers, a “modern-day fairytale about hope, forgiveness and love” starring Andrea Riseborough, Bill Nighy, Caleb Landry Jones, Jay Baruchel, Tahar Rahim and Zoe Kazan. Given the announcement in late 2017 that this year’s edition would act as long-serving […]

Interview: Radu Muntean, dir. One Floor Below

Radu Muntean has spent the last 13 years making films that examine the stranger undercurrents in Romanian society, particularly the way in which ordinary people react in extraordinary situations. He’s regarded as having been one of the leading lights of the Romanian New Wave although he’d probably grit his teeth at any mention of that. His latest film, One […]

Cannes 2015: Carol review

★★★★☆ The selection for this year’s Cannes Film Festival seemed to suggest that gritty reality was back on the cards, with a surprise piece of social realism screening on opening night. Todd Haynes’ first feature in seven years feels like an overwhelming retaliation to all that. Beautifully adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel The Price of Salt, Carol (2015) […]