Posted in 2010-2019, Film Review

mother! (2017)

Image is property of Paramount Pictures and Protozoa Pictures

mother! – Film Review

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Synopsis: A married couple are in the middle of redecorating their home, living a quiet peaceful life, yet when some uninvited guests show up, their tranquil  lifestyle is changed forever…

Review: The wonder of film is that it can generate a considerable array of responses among audiences. A film can be inspirational viewing, it can leave you speechless in shock, it can make you very angry, and it can leave you wondering what on earth you just watched, leaving you thinking about the film for days afterwards. In the case of Darren Aronofsky, here’s a director who is not afraid to make some psychologically damaging stories that leave their mark on their audiences.

In his latest film, Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem play a wife and husband, neither of whom are really properly identified, known only as Mother and Him respectively. In a large house that is far too big for just the two of them, they live in quiet harmony with Mother decorating their house while Him is a poet, struggling to find his muse. However, their peaceful existence is ruined when a guest, Man (Harris) turns up unannounced. Mother is uncertain, but Him welcomes this visitor into their home. And when Man’s wife shows up (Pfeiffer) this is where everything gets really sinister.

To say this film is strange would be a severe understatement. Aronofsky reportedly wrote the screenplay in five days, which could imply that the story maybe a bit rushed, but this is for the most part, not the case. Though a slow burn in the initial act, once the guests start to arrive is when things go south very quickly. Right from the first shot, the tone is creepy and sinister with some very vivid imagery, and metaphors that can be open to many different interpretations. Be warned, some of the imagery is macabre,and deeply unsettling at times. The very unequivocal undertone that is at the centre of this story will either infuriate or mesmerise, as is evident by the boos and cheers that greeted the movie in equal measure at its Venice Film Festival debut. Divisive in every sense of the word.

With her Hunger Games days now long behind her, Jennifer Lawrence continues to show her considerable acting credentials by giving a haunting , wounded performance, an Oscar nomination wouldn’t feel out of place. She is front and centre of the film, we witness many of the horrors in this film from her perspective. Bardem has shown in the past that he can portray a terrific villain but here, he’s a bit more nuanced, but still also gives an unsettling performance given the role he plays in the developing horror that we witness in this film. The rest of the cast also do their best to add to the ensuing tension, and that makes said tension almost palpable.

Aronofsky helms the film in a way that makes it deeply unsettling to watch, which is clearly what he was going for. The camerawork certainly helps to build the tension. However, the screenplay is so engaging it will ensure that you will be transfixed by the events you see on screen, and equally aghast. Yet at the same time, there’s something so intriguing behind the themes and ideas that drive this film. With metaphors about a plethora of topics aplenty, Aronofsky has made something that certainly will not be to everyone’s taste. Nevertheless, what he has crafted has ensured it will be dissected and analysed at films schools for years and years to come, and that’s no mean achievement.

You will probably either love it or hate it, bold but dark and unsettling storytelling with two haunted performances at its heart, a film that will leave a lasting impression on its audience, for better or for worse.

 

Posted in 2010-2019, Film Review

Gravity (2013)

All image rights belong to Warner Bros, Esperanto Filmoj, Heyday Films
Image is property of Warner Bros, Esperanto Filmoj, Heyday Films

Gravity – Film Review

Cast: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney , Ed Harris, Amy Warren, Phaldut Sharma, Basher Savage, Orto Ignatiussen

Director: Alfonso Cuarón

Synopsis: When a medical engineer and an astronaut are working together on a mission in space, disaster strikes as a space shuttle is destroyed in orbit and the two of them are left adrift in space. In order to survive, the two must work together to ensure they both return safely to earth.

Review: Out of this world brilliance. This film is 91 electrifying minutes of cinema that you are unlikely to forget in a hurry.  The film begins in a light hearted fashion as Ryan Stone, (Sandra Bullock) so named because her father wanted a boy  and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) along with a team of astronauts are working on the Hubble telescope. The opening captions of the film remind the viewer how deadly space can be as there is no oxygen, no air pressure and nothing to carry sound. The final caption on the screen reads “Life in space is impossible.” Thus, providing the viewer with a chilling message for what is to come.

The crew are initially a jovial team of astronauts as they work on the telescope. Kowalski in particular floats around without a care in the world. Yet for Dr Stone, she is not as cheerful as the death of her four year old daughter due to an unfortunate accident has taken its toll on her. However disaster strikes when a load of debris flies towards them at frightening speed, the consequences are lethal and Sandra Bullock finds herself 375 miles from home and it’s a long way back. Right throughout the film, you find yourself on edge as you root for her to find her way back home. You can see the death of her daughter has made her a determined woman to get through this horrific ordeal.  Bullock gives an incredible performance and it should land her nominations for Best Actress next year. Likewise Clooney is also on great form here and award nominations could definitely come his way next year as well.

The Computer Generated Imagery on show here is simply fantastic. It makes you feel like you are actually in outer space. Seeing the film in 3D definitely enhances the brilliant effects that you see and it definitely makes the film a lot more enjoyable, which is something that 3D has not always done since it made its return to popularity when 2009’s Avatar came along.  While awards season is still a few months away, I am predicting that Gravity will scoop awards for its special effects, they are spectacular.  The score that was composed by for the film by Steven Price is also wonderful and it without a doubt adds to the drama and suspense of the film.

After seeing this film I certainly have no plans to ever go into outer space. However, take nothing away from Gravity, as it was 91 minutes of complete perfection. It had terrific acting, enthralling drama, breath taking CGI and was accompanied by an outstanding score. Bullock gives one of the best performances of her career and the film has every potential to be a big success in next year’s awards season. This is a must see and is one of the best films of the year.

Visually incredible, with Bullock on the top of her game, and masterfully directed by Cuaron, one of 2013’s best films without a doubt.

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