Possession (Original Cut): follows the breakdown of a relationship between an international spy and his increasingly disturbed wife. Highly stylized, the masterful direction immediately jumps out; the camera is perpetually moving, with long and involving shots that roam around the actors, thrusting you right into the middle of the powerful, visceral drama. The acting is superb throughout, borderline theatrical but it assists in dragging you further into the intriguing plot. The entire film has an unusual vibe that’s both quasi-religious and heavily-surreal – somewhere between arthouse and exploitation – aided by a phenomenally creepy score that is one of the most unsettling I can remember. Not without it’s flaws, by the 75-minute mark, I was wishing I’d opted for the 90-minute edit, as the film takes a lingering detour into an examination of the body, soul, god, chance, and faith. It’s also a movie that has echoed strongly throughout the years, with a lot of imagery and powerful shots “borrowed” from this, and some of the most photogenic Berlin buildings – inside and out. Capped off with a genuinely crazy, jaw-dropping ending this is a film that you won’t be forgetting in a hurry; yet is such an intense experience that you won be rushing to re-watch. Marginalized because of it’s supernatural and excessive elements, Possession is ripe for a retrospective viewing: almost 40 years on it remains a modern thriller/horror that was way, way ahead of it’s time.
Conversation(s) with Other Women: Two people meet at a wedding and spend the night talking, loads. For being dialogue driven the script really shines, making the film interesting to watch, slowly unravelling aspects of each character. The entire film’s in split screen, which is a great concept and is well utilised. It takes a few scenes to get used to but helps the film flow with a great rhythm – and allows you get the unbroken present story and additional info from the past, present or future. There’s two utterly believable performances of tainted middle-agers on display and although Aaron Eckhart’s always been a favourite, I never really rated Helena Bonham Carter until I saw this. The wedding cameraman is a memorable minor character, the first lift scene is entertaining and this flick can boast the best use of Rilo Kiley in a movie to date. I haven’t gone from ‘skeptical’ to ‘loving it’ whilst watching a film in a long time. It’s smart, witty and sophisticated, particularly given how crud most similar movies end up being.
The Foot Fist Way: A tagline like “The story of a man who teaches people how to kick other people in the face” should make you want to watch any movie, and in that respect this film’s a total winner… shame about every other aspect though. It’s pretty much Kenny Power’s nerdy, and less offensive, brother teaching Taekwondo. All other characters are forgettable and get no good lines, the story’s predictable down to the ending and other than a few vulgarisms there weren’t many funnies in the script. The fly on the wall / docu style was interesting, but didn’t always work. I really wanted to like this film but it was all a bit forgettable. More like ‘Foot In Mouth’…
Paris Lockdown / Truands: an underworld crime film that half follows the ups and downs of two hitmen, as well as a myriad major and minor gang characters. It ticks all the boxes of a gangster type film; money, guns, cars, drugs, wimin’, feuds, violence and so forth. Despite this, the film never really gets going and because there are so many criminals and dealers in the story that you don’t get to know anyone well enough to want them to come out on top. The one thing I learn from this is that in Paris, money talks and nobody gives a shit about anything else! While it’s a good, watchable film, it’s definitely one for the boys – but if you’re wanting a proper continental ‘Goodfellas’ check out Romanzo Criminale instead.