Hallam Foe: psychological profile of a teenage voyeur two years after his mum suspiciously killed herself. Bell plays a believable rogue nutter, and the rest of the cast aren’t that bad at all. There’s no doubting that this tried to be a totally ‘Scottish’ film, especially given all the shady characters and coarse dialogue. The story however is far too convenient, unrealistic, randy and plain old weird. In doing this, the film ends up being a fiction piece, as opposed to believable, which ruins it a bit. It’s not garbage, but certainly isn’t great. The main problem I have with ‘Scottish films’ (this, Shallow grave, Trainspotting, Red Road, Sweet Sixteen…) is that they almost always present all Scots as violent/murderous raging alcoholics that will pump anything. Overall, it’s interesting, but don’t go out of your way to get this.
Breaking the Waves: Set in Scotland c. 1970s, it tells the story of a local lass who marries a Norwegian oil worker and their life after an accident. My biggest issue was that it was too long: 2 hours of slow churning, a 30 min spike of insane drama and then back to the churn for another 20 mins. It’s not exactly uplifting, mainly because it covers topics like love / monogamy / religion / disability. It’s filmed using a shaky-cam, which can get quite annoying and the very last scene is 100% totally stupid. The biggest reason to watch this film is Emily Watson’s outstanding performance, first major role and she absolutely stole the show. The rest of the cast are also brilliant – which makes the story more believable and essentially keeps you watching. The soundtrack’s also pretty good. I love Lars Von Trier’s stuff, but this isn’t his strongest film. Overall, a good piece of film that’s well worth watching… if you can last to the end.