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Margin Call: ensemble piece set around the 2008 financial collapse, when bankers first discover how much they screwed up. Seeing as the whole world knows how this story ends, it feels a bit odd creating a tight drama out of it, especially only starring the culprits. The script feels like it’s been written by a committee of naïve, lefty students, with some terrible “OMG – guess how much this banker was paid last year” and “LOL- it’s OK to screw over the unwilling public” type dialogue thrown in every ten minutes, just in case you still happened to like/respect bankers. The film only really comes to life when Tucci, Spacey and Irons are in the frame; they do what they do best and for those scenes you can soak up the proper acting. Unfortunately, there are also scenes where broody Baker and Moore struggle to convince, or keep up with the big boys. It is – and feels like – someone’s first time behind the camera; filmed in a rough-ish documentary style, when it needed to be more slick, engaging, flashy or all three. The best bits of Margin Call are powerful scenes with A-listers earning their buck and dropping your jaws; the worst parts feel like unnecessary hindsight-laden anti-banking propaganda.

Score: 3.5/10

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.

Score: 7.5/10