PFR is marking the 500th post by putting up a bunch of DVD extras this week. This review is from Susannah at Not Really Working, a site that discusses everything from The Apprentice and Twitter to books and the Premiership!
Trishna: If the idea of Michael Winterbottom directing another Thomas Hardy adaptation fills you with fear and loathing, you should probably give Trishna a wide berth. This loose update of Hardy’s Tess of d’Urbervilles, transplants the action to modern-day India, and stars Freida Pinto as a beautiful young woman with lousy taste in men. When hotelier’s son Jay (Riz Ahmed) offers Trishna a job, a rosy future beckons, with financial security for her impoverished family. But the reality turns out to be utterly bleak and – at times – hard to watch. The first half of the film is light on action but filled with stunning photography, as Marcel Zyskind captures the glories of India‘s architecture and landscape as well as the teeming streets of Mumbai. When things go sour between Trishna and the bastard Jay, you’re reminded of other abusive relationships so graphically depicted in Winterbottom’s The Killer Inside Me. I’m not convinced that Pinto has the acting skills to match her spectacular looks, so I became frustrated both by Trishna’s passivity and the deterministic nature of Hardy’s doom-laden story. For a good time, I’d suggest booking a holiday in India, avoiding this film and not packing a copy of Jude the Obscure in your luggage.
Score: 4/10 (2 stars)
The Killer Inside Me: American Noir set in the 1950s – a chilling character study of a sociopathic sheriff. Pretty much every review focuses and questions the two violent scenes so here goes: in my opinion the violence is shocking, but isn’t just a cheap shock; it’s to help us get further into Lou’s head, showing the audience that he has absolutely no boundaries or morals. Is the film misogynistic? Yes, but that’s because Lou is, and at least it doesn’t glamourise violence like so many other flicks. Beatings aside, whiny Casey Affleck fits the lead role perfectly, and considering he’s in every scene he never becomes boring, stale or overbearing. His believability and end-to-end range really shine through here. The rest of the cast are good, but all feel like bit-parts. Winterbottom’s style is pretty slick and although it’s clearly well-directed, aspects like the offbeat soundtrack and try-hard Noir vibe weary thin by the end. There are also some very, very dark bits of humour usually through Lou’s misunderstanding of normal people, but it probably wasn’t funny to most. Then there’s the ending, which for me was so ridiculous and out of tone with the rest of the story that I’m 95% sure it was a dream. The walkouts through the screening emphasised that this isn’t for everyone, mainly because it’s probably the closest you’ll get to feeling like a serial killer: we hear Lou’s every thought & justification and see both his flashbacks and events in his perspective. You will watch some bits through your fingers, but as much as it’s divided critics, it’s probably the single best example of a director harnessing the power of cinema to manipulate his audience in years. This is our generation’s, much more effective, Henry: portrait of a Serial Killer.