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Review: Vivarium

March 27, 2020
Vivarium

When you’re in a relationship, there are some milestones you will reach as a couple. Whether it’s being together for one month, one year or even celebrating being five years together. For the loving couple Tom and Gemma, it’s going to live together and buying a house. Finding the right place is never easy but little did they know that it was going to be this hard? Probably not and neither do you. Not unless you’ve seen Vivarium, the immensely unique, cleverly written and stunningly performed film by director Lorcan Finnegan (Without Name).

Nothing is what it seems

Gardner, Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) and schoolteacher, Gemma (Imogen Poots) are a lovely living an ordinary life. They’re ready for the next big step and want to move in with each other. On the lookout for the perfect house, they’re meeting up with the next estate agent. The very exciting Martin (Jonathan Aris) is taking them to Yonder, the perfect residence for a young couple. However, strange things happen right from the start the couple sets foot in Yonder. Martin vanishes unexpectedly, many attempts to leave Yonder fall and after technical car difficulties, the couple has no choice but to spend the night in Yonder. A night that will change their life forever and not in a good way.

First, they discover that the food has no taste whatsoever, that the house is too perfect and that there’s no one in Yonder. It gets worse when a baby boy (Senan Jennings) is dropped off at their door. Taking care of him might be the way out. Just like everything else, the boy isn’t ordinary. We don’t want to say too much but let us tell you: He makes the life of Tom and Gemma extremely hard. The couple is being torn apart by the way they want or better-said need to raise him. How will this impact their relationship and their chances of escaping Yonder?

Jesse Eisenberg as Tom, Jonathan Aris as Martin and Imogen Poots as Gemma in Vivarium.
Jesse Eisenberg as Tom, Jonathan Aris as Martin and Imogen Poots as Gemma in Vivarium.
(Source: IMDb)

Everything is connected in one way or another

There’s so much happening in this movie and it was very difficult for us to not mention even more of the plot. It might seem that there’s too much going on but even so, Vivarium is definitely worth the watch.

The main reason is the incredible unique story. Vivarium slaps you from left to right in unseen ways. At first, things might seem to happen by accident and seem to be unrelated but by the end of the film, it turns out that everything is connected.

An eclectic and heartbreaking story wouldn’t come to life perfectly if it wasn’t for the immensely strong cast. He’s probably the most unknown castmember but Jennings (Brute) excels in this movie. Whether it’s by screaming, mimicking his on-screen parents or just staring right into the camera, he gives us the chills every single time. He gets on our nerves more than once but in an extremely good way. We don’t want to say what the relationship is between Jennings and Eanna Hardwicke (Krypton), who will also appear in this movie, cause then the fun might be gone but rest assure that also Hardwicke’s performance is a compelling and unique one.

Senan Jennings as the boy and Imogen Poots as Gemma in Vivarium.
(Source: IMDb)

Poots and Eisenberg are as stunning as Jennings and Hardwicke. Poots (Black Christmas) puts on an extremely versatile performance. One moment she brings out that sweetness of being a schoolteacher to the forefront while a moment later she becomes the more determined mother fighting for her life. No matter which emotion or situation her character has to deal with, Poots portrays it in a beautiful and captivating way. Eisenberg (Zombieland: Double Tap) his Tom has been rough though type from the beginning and because of that, Eisenberg’s performance is big on both emotional and physical levels. His performance is certainly one that keeps us mesmerized. Last but not least, there’s Jonathan Aris (Boyz in the Wood) who makes such an unforgettable and witty appearance as Martin.

What makes from Vivarium a film that will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time is the awesome combination of the cinematic elements. The cinematography from MacGregor (Snake Bite) is crazy and vibrant when the couple is in Yonder but more ordinary and ‘average’ when they’re in the real world. The editing by Tony Cranstoun (Good Favour) adds that sinister element to this movie, especially when multiple shots are interwoven into each other. The setting? Well, what can we say about it? All the greenhouses which are the same and too perfect just set the tone for this eccentric psychedelic film instantly.

Discover a whole new dark world

After getting its UK premiere at the BFI London Film Festival last year, Vivarium is returning to the UK from the 27th of March on digital platforms. Thanks to Finnegan, you have to chance to watch a gripping, stunningly performed and visually captivating movie and you should take it.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

More: Read our interview with director Lorcan Finnegan.

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Reviews

Review: Misbehaviour

March 16, 2020
Misbehaviour Movie

You would think that when living in the 21st Century equal pay for men and women, equal rights and equal respect would just be one of the few cornerstones of society. Well, sadly that’s still not the case at all as the fight for gender equality on all fronts is still going strong. It’s a fight that has been fought for many decades with some lows but with definitely some highs as well. An important milestone in the fight for equal rights was without a doubt the rebellious uprising of the women’s liberation movement and their enormous impactful actions during the Miss World competition in 1970. If you’ve witnessed their extremely important protest live or on television at the time than you know what we’re talking about. If not, then director Philippa Lowthorpe (Sex, the city and me) has the perfect film for you. With her Misbehaviour, you will not only get up to speed with those crucial events in the best way possible but you will also see a beautiful, funny, and eye-opening movie.

You’ve got to fight for your rights

In this film, it’s all about two different sides of society coming together during the most entertaining spectacle of 1970, the Miss World competition. One on hand you have the women’s liberation movement while on the other hand, you have the competition organisers Eric (Rhys Ifans) and Julia Morley (Keeley Hawes).

The women’s liberation movement was found by Jo Robinson (Jessie Buckley) who brought together strong women to fight for equal rights. One of them is Sally Alexander (Keira Knightly) who sadly recently had to endure the prejudices of white men during her college application for the Univesity College of London. Instead of judging her on extensive knowledge and expertise on the matters, the men judged her on beauty and asked her about motherhood and the place of women in society. After that, she decided to join the women’s liberation movement and eventually to become their spokeswoman. She doesn’t want her daughter to grow up in a society that only cares about female beauty and not the intelligence of women.

It becomes clear that that society is indeed about appearance and treating women just as a beautiful piece of meat. The most tremendous example of that is the Miss World competition. No one there seems to care about the dignity of women. No, all what the organisers and their special guest star Bob Hope (Greg Kinnear) can think of is who will be the most beautiful girl in the world. Will it be the favourite Miss Sweden (Clara Rosager) or one of the two black contestants Miss Africa South (Loreece Harrison) and Miss Grenada (Gugu Mbatha-Raw)?

Misbehaviour - The ladies leading of the women's liberation movement
(Source: Pathé)
The ladies leading of the women’s liberation movement
(Source: Pathé)

The important story and strong performances rule

While this story took place in the ’70s, not much has changed. Ok, the equal rights became more equal, there’s free daycare and a woman is allowed to open a bank account without the permission of her husband. However, the standards of beauty remained the same. You can’t have too many curves at the wrong places, you need to have the perfect measurements and heels are the symbol of femininity. Yes, those standards are still present. In some cultures, people do still believe that the place of women is only in the kitchen and bedroom.

Apart from the story, the acting performances are also what keeps this movie very interesting. After showing us her outstanding performances in Wild Rose and Judy, Buckley is again phenomenal. The timing of her cleverly written jokes is just spot on and she lifts the film to an entertaining and spontaneous film. The chemistry between her and Knightley is a wonderful one to witness. This is also because of Knightley (Official Secrets) her remarkable performance.

However, no matter how great they are, Knightley and Buckley are being over classed by Mbatha-Raw (Come Away). She lights up the screen as Hosten, the Miss World competitor who has more to offer than just beauty. Mbatha-Raw shows us a strong performance, that highlights the aesthetics of Miss Grenada but also her maturity and intelligence. The scene between Mbatha-Raw and Knightley is one of the most captivating ones. When it comes to the male cast, it’s Ifans (The Parting Glass) who steals the show with a funny and suave performance. He knows how to bring out that ‘player and female lover’ aspect of Eric tremendously.

Perfect timing

It’s been exactly 50 years since the women’s liberation movement decided to take on the Miss World competition and so it was the right time for Misbehaviour to be released. Not only because of the importance of the topic but also just because it’s an immensely entertaining and charming movie.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Misbehaviour (Official Trailer)

Misbehaviour is out in U.K. cinemas now

Also Read: The Problem with the role of ‘The Wife’ in movies like ‘Dark Waters’

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Reviews

Review: Escape from Pretoria

March 9, 2020

How apartheid in South Africa changed the lives of many people is undeniably clear. Not only black people but also white people who weren’t afraid of showing their hatred towards the system were locked up, tortured and murdered. Just because they didn’t believe in a society that was just based on race. Now, director Francis Annan (Woyzeckis) is taking the real story of two political captives to the big screen in his Escape from Pretoria.

It’s all about finding the right key

Tim Jenkin (Daniel Radcliffe) and Stephen Lee (Daniel Webber) are two young men and friends living in Africa during the Apartheid. They’re both white and so you might think that their lives’ mission is ruling over the black people in their community. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Jenkin has a black girlfriend and both men release political pamphlets and support for the black society. Sadly, for Tim and Stephen, the law is ruling with an iron fist and due to that, the men are being sentenced to prison for many years just because of their political views.

Their freedom might have been taken away but not their spirit and hunger for justice. From the moment they set foot into jail, they were already planning their escape. There are many locks (too many?) to open, too many guards to hide from and too many unpredictable elements to take into consideration. Luckily for Jenkin and Lee, they get help from their fellow prison mates and soon their ingenious plan is put in motion. Keys are being made, guards are being distracted and inventions are being fabricated. Will their determination, craftsmanship, and lust for freedom be the way out for the two men or will the prison bars be part of their lives forever?

Daniel Radcliffe as Tim Jenkin in Escape from Pretoria
Daniel Radcliffe as Tim Jenkin in Escape from Pretoria
(Source: IMDb)

Not the ordinary escape thriller

This movie is based on the book written by Jenkin himself and because of the Escape from Pretoria feels very personal and up-close. Together with his co-writers L.H. Adams and Karol Griffiths, director Annan certainly preserved that unique touch but also added some very entertaining and wonderful cinematic elements to it.

Not only did the director and writers want to make sure that this movie is an incredible homage to the strong men living in the age of repression, but also the actors themselves certainly wanted to honour their characters in the best and authentic way possible. First up, there Radcliffe (Guns Akimbo) who puts on great and solid performance. He embraces the courageous, determined and intelligent elements of his characters and makes them his own. In a heist film, performances could be big and bold and over the top (most of the time combined with special effects) but not in this film. The subtleness and the ‘small’ acting are Radcliffe’s strengths, even more so during the climax of this film. Also, the scenes with the key and chewing gums were just too brilliant not to mention.

His acting might not be as captivating and emotional as the one of Radcliffe but that doesn’t mean that Webber (The Dirt) can’t delight us. He adds much more emotions to this movie with his compelling and steady performance. 

They get great support from Ian Hart (Mary Queen of Scots) as the social campaigner Denis Goldberg and Mark Leonard Winter (Measure for Measure) as Alex Moumbaris. Hart brings many witty and clever moments to Escape from Pretoria and shows us in a crafty way what happens when you don’t take your life into your own hands. No matter how many obstacles you have to overcome. The most emotional story arc in this movie is Moumbaris’s as it’s about him, his son and the injustice of his family. Winter’s performance is packed with human emotions. From sadness and doubts to determination and happiness in dark times, we all get to feel them thanks to Winter’s moving performance.

While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the performances of the cast, it’s the craftsmanship of the crew that excels in this movie. We certainly want to applaud the great work of cinematographer Geoffrey Hall (Australia Day). The way he uses light, darkness, and shadow is just magnificent and oozes that tense vibe. If you add excellent sound and music of the music department to that, Escape from Pretoria becomes a thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat. Those approaching footsteps, the sound of the creaking wooden floors or the noise of the keys turning in the locks give you the chills many times.

A lively apartheid prison break

Escape from Pretoria deals with topics that are still very present such as equality and justice. It’s certainly not afraid of adding thrilling and entertaining elements to a real-life story. The result is a nail-biting, marvellous and cleverly made thriller.

Escape from Pretoria is out now in UK cinemas

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Escape From Pretoria (Official Trailer)

Also Read: Color Out of Space (Review)

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Reviews

Review: Color Out of Space

March 2, 2020
Color Out of Space

When hearing the words ‘colour out of space’, which colour comes to mind? Flashy green, dark blue, or darkish grey? Well, some of us don’t even think about a colour. No, all we can think of is the short story by H.P. Lovecraft named The Colour Out of Space. Now that epic sci-fi story is coming to life thanks to writer/director Richard Stanley (Hardware).

Is it just a colour?

In Color Out of Space, we get to meet the Gardner family. Nathan (Nicolas Cage) is the typical father who takes good care of his children, his lovely wife Theresa (Joely Richardson) and his alpacas (yep, you read this correctly). Despite her illness, Theresa is always there for her work and family. Their three kids couldn’t have been more different from each other. Benny (Brendan Meyer) is the quiet teenager who, despite loving drugs, does everything to please his parents. Lavinia (Madeleine Arthur) is the bad-mouthed daughter who’s into witchcraft and dark spells. The youngest son Jack (Julian Hilliard) is just so cute and innocent, especially with his dinosaur stuffed animal. 

Nothing seems to be out of the ordinary but their world will be rocked when a mysterious rock out of space falls on their land. It doesn’t only bring an immense bang with it but also a colour that ‘no one has ever seen before’. At first, it doesn’t have to a massive impact but slowly after that, the Gardners start to experience ever-more bizarre events: Lightning storms that come out of nowhere, huge fuchsia-like plants that popped up overnight, a terrible aroma only Nathan can smell and a voice that only Jack can here. It becomes even worse when also their animals start to act strangely. No one ever came in contact with ‘that thing out of space’ but how is it changing them then? Is it the static, water, nature or something unexplainable?

Joely Richardson as Theresa and Nicolas Cage as Nathan in Color Out of Space
Joely Richardson as Theresa and Nicolas Cage as Nathan in Color Out of Space
(Source: IMDb)

Enormous talent in front and behind the camera

If you’ve read the story, then you know the answer to that lingering question. However, even if you do know, Color Out of Space will captivate you from start to finish.

The biggest element that makes sure of that, is the amazing cast. Cage (Mandy) is just phenomenal as he brings his most intriguing, exhilaration and multi-layered performance in years. One moment, he’s portraying the loving father charmingly and tenderly while a brief moment later, he’s furiously lashing out mysteriously at this on-screen daughter Lavinia. He brings so much humour and memorable moments to this movie. He gets stunning support from Richardson (Red Sparrow). At first, Richardson and her impeccable talent might be underused as she’s only playing the friendly wife wonderfully. However, when the movie becomes much obscurer, her performance grows intensely and becomes so much more intense and intriguing. Don’t get us started on her acting during the last part of this film.

Arthur (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before) is extremely captivating as headstrong Lavinia. The protective and caring but also restless and confused treats of her character are being portrayed marvellously by her. He’s still young but Hilliard (Greener Grass) is already capable of putting on ‘grown-up’ performances. He’s such a joy to watch as the innocent Jack and when he can show us his darker side, his acting becomes even more fascinating. Meyer (Only Humans) puts on a rich performance as Benny. One that’s filled with strong emotions and funny moments. There’s also Tommy Chong (Jay and Silent Bob Reboot), who portrays the kooky neighbour Ezra in a very clever way and Elliot Knight (Billionaire Ransom) who’s charming as the new stranger.

Madeleine Arthur as Lavinia in Color Out of Space
Madeleine Arthur as Lavinia in Color Out of Space
(Source: IMDb)

A horror film with the title Color Out of Space wouldn’t be anything without the perfect colours and the ideal vibe. Well, director Stanley made sure that this movie had it all. He got Steve Annis (I Am Mother) on board as the Director of Photography and Annis shows us his incredible talent by creating the movie is the best way possible. At first, he uses ‘ordinary’ colours, no much special effects and focusses on the conversations. This is to give the audience the possibility to connect with the characters. However, when everything seems to fall apart for the family, he steps us his game by giving the movie the powerful colours, entertaining vibe and intensity it needs. In almost every scene, he uses that purple-ish colour which heightened that mysterious element even more. The horror vibe of this movie is also increasing because of the music by Colin Stetson (Hereditary). His sound design works on your nerves in the most brilliant way.

Light up your day

Color Out of Space will literally and figuratively speaking light up your day. Not only because of its immense purple-ish colour but also because it’s an epic, hypnotizing and stunningly performed movie.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Color Out Of Space (Official Trailer)

Color Out of Space is out now.

Also Read: The Problem with the role of ‘The Wife’ in movies like ‘Dark Waters’

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Reviews

Review: Little Joe

February 24, 2020
Little Joe

There are two sorts of people: The ones who can keep plants alive for months and the ones who just let it accidentally die after a few days. Whether you’re part of the first group or the second, you all know that flowers need to be talked to, watered and sometimes also touched. Well, that’s certainly something Alice Woodard knows like no one else. As an expert in plant-breeding, she’s being surrounded by plants and flowers every day. Her flowery story is now coming to the big screen in Little Joe from director Jessica Hausner (Amour Fou).

Which of your children do you choose?

Saying that flowers are Alice (Emily Beecham) her passion would be a complete understatement. She takes care of them 24/7 and together with her colleague Chris (Ben Whishaw), she has even produced a new species called Little Joe. The flower isn’t only gorgeous but it also releases a scent that makes the owner happy. When Alice isn’t spending time with her Little Joe’s, she’s surrounded by another Joe (Kit Connor), her son. To show her thanks for keeping up with her absence, Alice takes a Little Joe home as a present for her son, despite it being against company policies. However, that might could have the biggest mistake of her life.

At first, everything seems to be fine with Little Joe but things are taking a darker turn when her colleague Bella (Kerry Fox) suspects that the pollen of the flowers might be harmful. It looks like Little Joe is changing people’s behaviour and not in a good way. The more the flowers grow, the stranger the behaviour of the people becomes. Alice doesn’t notice it at first but when her son shows the potential symptoms, she’s starting to doubt her work. Which of her children will she choose: her appealing flowers or her wonderful son?

Emily Beecham as Alice Woodard and Ben Whishaw as Chris in Little Joe.
 Emily Beecham as Alice Woodard and Ben Whishaw as Chris in Little Joe.
Source: IMDb

Wonderful talent both in front as well as behind the camera

Hausner wrote Little Joe with her writing partner Géraldine Bajard (Amour Fou). According to Bajard, the inspiration came from Invasion of the Body Snatchers. They wanted to create a similar story involving the connection between a working mother and her son. That bond is one of the reasons why the audience can resonate so well with this movie. There’s also the unanswered love, feelings such as doubts and guilt and even the issue of mental instability. The crucial topic is without a doubt making the right decision even if you have to give up something or someone you love for that.

Those human emotions and feeling wouldn’t feel so familiar if it wasn’t for the stunning performances. It’s no surprise that Beecham (Daphne) won the award for Best Actress during the Film Festival de Cannes last year. She portrays the whole range of emotions of her characters extremely beautiful. Her facial expressions could tell the whole story on its own. Whether we would make the same decision as Alice or not, Beecham makes us feel connected to her. Wishaw (The Personal History of David Copperfield) puts on a stunning performance as the shy Chris who’s not afraid of showing his feelings. It’s a shame though that Wishaw can’t show his full potential, especially more towards the end. Beecham and Wishaw get fine support from Fox (Top End Wedding) whose performance is the most emotionally versatile one of this movie and Connor (Slaughterhouse Rulez) who puts on wonderful acting.

When we spoke to Marko Waschke (The Gentlemen) about the flowers he created, he mentioned that they combined many elements from different flowers to make it look realistic and new at the same time. The hard work paid off because the planthouse looks incredible and is the perfect setting for the majority of the scenes. Even more so when the flowers are in complete bloom.

What brings that beautifulness to the screen, even more, is the wonderful cinematography by Martin Gschlacht (Revanche). There’s the stunning element of the black and white composition. When Little Joe seems innocent, the lights in the planthouse are bright but when more doubts about the plants increase, the colours become darker. The music also contributes to that innocent versus dangerous aspect. The music in Little Joe is repetitive but that’s for a perfect reason. When we see the daily life of the plant breeders, there’s almost no music but when Little Joe is the key piece in the scene, you hear upbeat drums representing the danger and dark side.

Little Joe Plants
The Little Joe’s
(Source: IMDb)

A beautiful, delightful and intriguing film

Flowers and plants can be very captivating, especially when they’re extremely colourful. Well, that’s the same we can say about this movie. If you check out Little Joe, you will not only see incredibly beautiful flowers but also a stunningly dark, visually gorgeous and a captivating performance on film.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Also Read: Netflix By The Numbers

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Reviews

Review: Birds of Prey

February 9, 2020

That heartbreak can cause much pain is something we’re familiar with. Whether it’s ending a long time relationship or a short fling, we are always going to handle it in our way. However you deal with it, pretty sure it’s not as drastic as Harley Quinn getting over her Joker. But who knew that dealing with a break up would this much fun! With Birds of Prey (or Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), DC has finally got the funny, colourful, vibrant and extremely entertaining film it deserves. With massive thanks to director Cathy Yan (Dead Pigs)!

They should fear me cause I’m Harley f*cking Quinn

It seems that Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) her life isn’t rolling into the right direction. After splitting up with her “J” and taking revenge in the most explosive way possible, she’s now being hunted by everyone she has wronged. One of them is Roman Sionis aka Black Mask (Ewan McGregor). He’s the latest ‘victim’ on her list as she hurt his driver in that typical “Harley Quinn” way. After being captured, Quinn wants to save her skin. She’s being tasked with tracking down a precious diamond that holds the code to the bank account of a rich Mafia family. While claiming to be the “finder of all lost things”, this search may not be as easy as she expected, especially when that diamond has been swallowed by young hustler Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco).

That’s not the only problem Quinn has to overcome. The jewel has also caught the attention of Gotham City Police Department Detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez). For Montoya, who has been screwed over by her former male colleague, this gem could be getting the promotion she deserves. A bad-ass assassin Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) also has her reasons to retrieve the diamond. There’s also Sionis’ driver Dinah Lance aka Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) wants the diamond. Four women with each their own agenda, one little thief and a large number of men who are after them. Many people but just one diamond. How will this end?

Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as The Huntress, Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary in Birds of Prey
Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as The Huntress, Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary in Birds of Prey
(Source: IMDb)

A dream cast

If you would ask us how to describe Robbie (Bombshell, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood) her performance in one word we would say: Superb! She nails Quinn perfectly. Both the looks as well as the emotions. Her expressive and joyful appearance just puts an instant smile on your face and when the sadder. When the strong emotions appear, Robbie’s acting makes sure that you care about Quinn every step of the way, no matter how many horrifying mistakes Quinn made in the past. Basco plays a key role in the film and she does that by putting on a wonderful performance. The connection between Robbie and Basco is just spot-on.

Smollett-Bell (One Last Thing, Hands of Stone) grabs your attention every time she appears as Black Canary, who literally and figuratively has a killer voice. No matter if it’s during the quiet signing scenes or the violent, entertaining and action-packed fight scenes, watching Smollett-Bell is such a treat. While Winstead (The Parts You Lose, Gemini Man) only makes her first appearance during the middle of this movie, she brings such a comedy element as well as immense female power. Perez (The Dead Don’t Die, Active Adults) might not have the rock ‘n roll attitude the rest of the cast has but she’s still very much fun to watch.

Don’t think that the exquisite cast only exists of women. No, there’s also McGregor (Doctor Sleep, Christopher Robin). Whether it’s as the charismatic but short-tempered Sionis or as the secretive and sinister Black Mask, his scenes are just fantastic. Saying that there’s a sensational chemistry between the leads would be such an understatement.

Tremendous talent behind the camera

There’s also the top-notch talent behind the scenes that delivered astonishing work. First up, we want to congratulate the hair and makeup team and costume department. They make from Birds of Prey the most energetic, flashy and eye-catching comic movie you will ever see. Our praise also needs to go to the stunt team and the special effects team. The many on-set stunts and the CGI added afterwards make this film go so smoothly, even though they might be over the top. We also want to thank the people who made and/or chose the music. Every song has a hidden reference and gives Birds of Prey an immense punch.

One hell of a ride

While watching Birds of Prey, it becomes clear that comic book movies are still going to dominate the box office for many years to come. If any of those could be as much fun, entertaining, stunning performed and wonderfully created, then we would be over the moon.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Also Read: Joke’s On You: The History of Batman’s Arch-Nemesis

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Review: Queen & Slim

That classic films like Bonnie and Clyde, Badlands, Thieves Like Us and Thelma & Louise were a massive inspiration for many adaptations was proven throughout the years multiple times. Whether it’s for adaptions such as the television series Bonnie & Clyde or as a starting point for movies like Leaving Normal, their influence is never far away. Director Melina Matsoukas is now bringing those classics together in Queen & Slim, her directional movie debut.

Drive and never look back

We all know that a first date can be very awkward. After both swiping rights on Tinder, Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) and Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) decided to meet up but the dinner date is sadly not going how it should be. It goes even from bad to worse when they’re driving home. What should have been just a routine traffic stop escalates into the murder of a white cop. According to Slim, his actions were in self-defense but as a lawyer, Queen knows how things look. As two black people, they will never be able to win from the white society so the only thing they can do is drive away and never look back. That’s exactly what they do!

Their tense journey involves many car changes, immensely nerve-wracking times and encountering people who could turn them in at any time. The further they travel, the bigger the manhunt for them becomes, especially after a video of the incident surfaces. While the cops see this as another reason to catch this “armed and extremely dangerous” couple, there’s also immense support for Queen and Slim. Their actions are being praised by the black community who saw the terrible event as an act of self-defense. Multiple riots break out and the confrontations between the cops and protesters become even more violent. How will the fight between black and white end and most importantly, will Queen and Slim be able to escape from the law forever?

Daniel Kaluuya as Queen and Jodie Turner-Smith as Slim in Queen & Slim.
(Source: IMDb)

Solid film on many levels

The strongest element of this movie is without a doubt the excellent leading performances. Kaluuya (Get Out, Widows) is extremely captivating as an ordinary man with an ordinary job. All Queen wants is living a simple life with a woman by his side in the hope someone will remember him once he’s gone. Kaluuya knows how to portray the many traits of his character. During the more quiet scenes, you can feel the strong emotional rollercoaster Queen is going through just by looking at Kaluuya and during the more rough scenes, the performance becomes literally and figuratively even more powerful.

Opposite him, we see Turner-Smith (Newness) making a wonderful debut as the attorney who puts her job above finding love. The remarkable performance brings out the cold, harsh and determined but also loving, insecure and fragile elements of Queen. Queen and Slim are both coming from different background and thanks to the excellent performances, those difference shines through. The final scene is certainly the most emotional and stunning one and shows the great chemistry between the two leads.

Another element that makes from Queen & Slim a compelling film is the modern and contemporary story written by Lena Waithe and James Frey. Topics that are included in this film such as racism, segregation, violence, and repression against black people are still incredibly present these days. The many obstacles Queen and Slim have to overcome in this movie are certainly obstacles black people are facing today as well. There’s also a grey area in Queen & Slim. While the runaway couple is being supported by the black community and wanted by white cops, some white people show sympathy and some black characters use violence against everyone (no matter the colour or race).

Not reaching its full potential

Sadly, there are a few minor glitches when it comes to Queen & Slim, which mean the film doesn’t fulfil its full potential. Large parts of this movie take place on the road and so we know that we can expect a lot of shots of the couple driving in the car. However, the many car changes also result in a multitude of those long driving shots which feel like we’ve seen them before. This makes it feel repetitive and like the film is dragging on. Because of the violence and topics, Queen & Slim could also have benefited from a little bit more punch and power.

A very fine directional debut

To some, it might seem that Queen & Slim is a 21st Century rip-off of Thelma & Louise or Bonnie and Clyde. We get why this indeed could be the case. However, it’s so much more than that. With a very solid script, contemporary topics and with Kaluuya and Turner-Smith as a power couple, director Matsoukas delivers a very enjoyable directional debut.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Also Read: Bad Boys For Life (Review)

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Review: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

February 5, 2020
Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers

If you were a child living in America between 1968 to 2001 or if you had children during that time then you probably will fondly remember the American children’s television presenter Fred Rogers. For decades, he graced our television screens with his Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. That television program became extremely popular all over the States because of Rogers’ openness, heart-warming and extraordinarily kind vibe. The way he cared for children and talked with them about difficult themes such as divorce, family and friendship was praised immensely. Now, this wonderful man is being celebrated in director Marielle Heller‘s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Her third full-length feature film is as touching, beautiful and sweet as Roger himself.

A real-life authentic story with a twist

For this movie, Heller could count on the impeccable writing skills of Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster. Starting from the original Esquire article about Fred Rogers written by journalist Tom Junod, they decided to give their twist to it. While Rogers (Tom Hanks) is a big part of this story, the main focus is on Junod himself. In A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Junod is renamed as the fictional Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) but still with the same profession: Being an investigative journalist who works for Esquire. After delivering award-winning pieces, his editor demands him to write 400 words on Rogers as a feature for the special edition about ‘heroes’. Not very keen on writing this puff piece, Vogel is doing initial research into the life of Rogers and starts to wonder whether Rogers is the wonderful, nice and loving man everyone thinks he is.

Vogel’s journey takes him to the set of Mister Rogers’ Neighbourhood, the show during which Rogers invites his young audience to join him. It’s not only to meet the main characters but also to discuss rough topics such as death, divorce, and doubts. Some of those issues are sadly also the ones Vogel is confronted within his own life such as the difficult relationship with awful father (Chris Cooper) and his insecurities about being a new dad with his wife Andrea (Susan Kelechi Watson). Rogers had already a massive impact on children’s lives but which impact will he have on Vogel’s?

Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers and Matthew Rhys as Lloyd Vogel in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.  (Source: IMDb)
 Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers and Matthew Rhys as Lloyd Vogel in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.  (Source: IMDb)

Oscar-worthy performances

On the 22nd of January, Tom Hanks got nominated for an Oscar for “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role” and it’s totally understandable why. Hanks (The Post, Inferno) just lights up our screen with immense love, empathy, excitement, and kindness, just like the iconic television host himself did. We couldn’t see someone else playing the role of the warmest television personality than the most kind A-list star himself.

What elevates the marvellous performance of Hanks even more, is the chemistry between him and Rhys. Rhys (The Report, Burnt) is fantastic as the smart, hardworking but also broken and lost Vogel. The emotional journey his character is going through is being brought to the screen very beautifully. Whether the grief, anger, love, and doubt he feels regarding his private life or the pressure, confusion, and bitterness during his profession, we can feel it all thanks to Rhys’s captivating and emotional performance.  What a shame that Rhy’s (and this film in general) doesn’t get the award nominations he deserves.

A remarkable crew

Not only the amazingly talented director, excellent writers, and the terrific cast are making sure that this movie is elegantly coming to life. No, the entire crew does that as well. First of all, it’s cinematographer Jody Lee Lipes whose work transports us back into time. With bright colours and vivid wide shots, this film really oozes that welcoming, cheerful and gentle vibe Rogers created on the set of his program. The most beautiful work is the way she re-creates and integrates those openings sequences of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood in this movie. She also shot the film as it would pre-HD television. There’s also the calming and amusing soundtrack that’s provided by the director’s brother, Nate Heller. Both elements really lift the authenticity of this film to a higher level.

Heller delivers again an outstanding film

After delivering the critically acclaimed Diary of a Teenage Girl and the Oscar-nominated Can You Ever Forgive Me?, it became clear that Heller certainly knows how to make a beautiful film. With this latest one, she does that again. Whether A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a trip down to memory lane for you or whether it’s the first time you meet Mr. Rogers, this movie is all you could ask for. A heart-warming, authentic, and gorgeously made film with a cast that delivers Oscar-worthy performances.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Also Read: It’s Time to Talk About Marielle Heller

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Review: The Personal History of David Copperfield

January 26, 2020

Whether you’re a bookworm that devours books in record time or whether you’re just familiar with the classics, Charles Dickens is known by everyone. Probably mostly because of Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, and Great Expectations. They’ve all had many adaptations and now we can also another adaptation of David Copperfield to that list. This is thanks to director Armando Iannucci (The Death of Stalin, In the Loop). He decided to turn the adored novel into The Personal History of David Copperfield, a funny, heart-warming and moving film.

Finding light in times of darkness

That life won’t be easy for David Copperfield becomes obvious from the beginning. The young David (Jairaj Varsani) and his family are coming from a poor background and the loss of his father was a hard blow to handle. He might not have much but together with his single mother (Morfydd Clark) and housekeeper Peggotty (Daisy May Cooper), he’s trying to enjoy life as much as possible. However, dark clouds are hanging above their little cottage in Blunderstone. The authoritarian Mr. Murdstone (Darren Boyd) and his equally evil sister Jane Murdstone (Gwendoline Christie) are joining the family as David’s stepfather and step-aunt. David has to undergo both mental and physical abuse by Murdstone and he’s being deprived of time with his mother and housekeeper. It even gets worse when he has to leave his family to go to work at the bottling factory, owned by Murdstone.

Many years later, David (Dev Patel) is still working at the factory and living with the nutty, clever but also very charming Mr. and Mrs. Micawber (Peter Capaldi and Bronagh Gallagher). They’ve welcomed David with open arms and are treating him like their child. However, an unexpected loss is turning David’s life completely upside down. He can’t return home due to Mr. Murdstone who’s still ruling there so he decides to go to his amusing and kooky aunt (Tilda Swinton) and his even silly cousin (Hugh Laurie). This might be the beginning of a more joyful time for David. He meets the lovely Dora (Morfydd Clark), makes new friends and lives a more luxurious life. Love, family and some money. It seems that finally, David has it all. Will he be able to escape the uncertainty and poverty once and for all or will his past catches upon him?

Peter Capaldi as Mr. Micawber and Jairaj Varsani as the young David Copperfield in The Personal History of David Copperfield.
(source: IMDb)

Love, passion and a stunning assemble cast

We all have our reasons why we cherish a particular book, novel or film so much. For director Iannucci, it was the cinematic, funny, and modern vibe of the original Dicken’s novel that made him wanted to make an adaption of it. To bring his beautiful vision to life, he worked with writer Simon Blackwell (Trying Again) with whom he already made The Thick of It and Veep. The two men certainly know how to make a wonderful and gorgeous movie.

The main reason is without a doubt the stunning performance of the overall cast. Leading the A-stars is the amazing Dev Patel (Lion). Iannucci knew from the start that he wanted Patel to portray the main character and it’s understandable why. Watching Copperfield coming to life is such a joy because of Patel’s extremely heart-warming, charming and emotional performance. He puts a smile on our faces during the joyful moments but at the same time, we can also feel the pain and uncertainty. Also, the young Varsani (Hetty Feather) portrays David in the most vividly, wonderful and contagious way.

The supporting cast? Well, what can we see about them apart from the fact that they were all on-point! This movie can certainly count on strong women. Clark (Crawl) puts on the most emotional and captivating performance while Cooper (This Country) brings immense joy and wittiness. Swinton (Suspiria) is at her best again as the unusual, peculiar but loving Betsey and Gallagher (A Bump Along the Way) is just delightful to watch as the carrying Mrs. Micawber. Christie (Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi) brings darkness to this movie in a gorgeous way.

The male cast is as equally as powerful. Capaldi (Paddington) features as the conniving and funny Mr. Micawber while Laurie (Tomorrowland) delivers a wonderful performance as the loving man who’s sadly showing the first signs of schizophrenia. Whishaw’s (Little Joe) performance as the seedy Uriah Heep brings an even more funny, mad and witty element to this movie. A massive congratulations to the casting tea for putting such a great assemble cast together!

Elegant, heart-warming and delightfully made

While making this film, Iannucci wanted to use as little special effects as possible and that proved only to work in favour of this film. The heartwarming and joyful The Personal History of David Copperfield is a delight to watch thanks to the stunning A-cast, real-life vibe and extreme openness.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Also Read: Why James Cameron’s Avatar Sequel Has Come At The Right Time

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Review: Bad Boys for Life

January 19, 2020
Martin Lawrence & Will Smith - Bad Boys For Life

It was in 1995 when the world got to meet the friends and Miami policemen Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) for the first time. While Mike was a ladies man, always up for a thrilling ride and shoot out, Marcus wanted a family and life as normal as possible. After having 72 hours to reclaim a consignment of stolen drugs in their first film and having to deal with one of the most dangerous drug lords in their second movie, now they’re back for a third assignment. Michael Bay might not have returned as a director for this latest instalment but don’t worry. Even with new directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, Bad Boys for Life gives exactly what you want and expect. An action-packed and thrilling comedy with Smith and Lawrence as the perfect humouristic leads

“We ride together. We die together” for the third time

It’s been almost 17 (!) years since the last time we saw the bad boys and while a lot of things have happened, many stayed the same. Mike is still living the life of a real single detective: Living for the thrills, fighting the guys and enjoying female company as much as he can. Marcus’ family has been growing over the last few years and now that he became a “pop-pop” (grandfather), the idea of retiring becomes more appealing every day. Those conflicting feelings from the detectives become even more heightened when Mike is almost killed by a murderous vigilante. Marcus sees this as a sign of God that he has to retire right away before this happens to him. That means that the frustrated and angry Mike, who’s going on a desperate manhunt to find the man who tried to kill him, must team up with Miami PD’s AMMO.

However, what happens when you put an old-school detective with a new, modern and high-tech superteam? Well, trouble that what happens! Bodies are piling up, bullets are flying everywhere and car chases are happening every second. Mike doesn’t seem to get closer to catching the guy but there’s always that one friend you can count on. Even when Marcus is now retired, living a relaxed life and has sworn to God to never use violence anymore, there’s still some love for the badge. Bad Boys for life, right?

Predictable but still enjoyable

We’re not going to lie about it. There are already many films made like Bad Boys for Life and we’re a hundred percent sure that many more will follow. Movies in which action is key, in which the story is just secondary and in which emotions are just out of the question. While there are more emotions in this movie than in the two films combined, due to the predictable, they don’t do the trick fully. There’s still a lack of emotional connection taking place between the leading characters and the audience. Yes, there’s also the big amount of cliches rushing by over the screen but isn’t that what you expect when watching a film like that. After all, Bad Boys for Life will be able to please you from start to finish.

Will Smith as detective Mike Lowrey and Martin Lawrence as Detective Marcus Burnett in Bad Boys for Life.
Will Smith as detective Mike Lowrey and Martin Lawrence as Detective Marcus Burnett in Bad Boys for Life.
(Source: IMDb)

Smith and Lawrence are back on point

One of the main elements is the impeccable chemistry between Smith (Gemini Man) and Lawrence (The Beach Bum). It’s clear that both men worked together on the previous films as they just lift each other to a much higher, comical and charismatic level. The banter between them is very contagious and it will put a smile on your face the entire time. If the predictable punchlines weren’t delivered by Smith and Lawrence, they would have just fallen flat instantly. Not only the men and their characters became much more mature but also their jokes Thanks to that, this film got a more grown-up vibe than the previous two.

The stellar performance of the two leads has also a very infectious impact on the new and fresh talent that’s supporting them in the best way possible. New cast members such as Paola Nuñez (The Purge), Charles Melton (The Sun is Also a Star), Vanessa Hudgens (Spring Breakers), and Alexander Ludwig (The Hunger Games) each bring their own game to this film.

Fresh take but still the same

With the new directors behind the wheel, Bad Boy for Life feels refreshing (as refreshing as it can be for a franchise film obviously). The action scenes are still fast, bombastic and entertaining but for some reason, they feel less over-the-top than during the previous films. With the impeccable Smith and Lawrence returning in great form, the addition of new wonderful cast members, the usual comedy and the action, Bad Boy for Life is a movie that just pure enjoyment and entertainment. Wondering what the fourth part will be like.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Bad Boys For Life (Official Trailer)

Also Read: Why James Cameron’s Avatar Sequel Has Come At The Right Time

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Review: Bombshell

January 11, 2020

Does it refer to the huge news story? So gigantic it exploded onto the 24-hour news cycle in 2016, dominating the conversation for weeks. Or maybe it means the striking skinny blond newscasters who delivered that story on Fox News? The film’s title, Bombshell, isn’t the only thing that’s hard to pin down in this fictionalised retelling of the sexual harassment scandal that exposed conservative juggernaut Roger Ailes, the head of the controversial cable news channel, as an abuser and predator. 

Bombshell is, politically, a mess. That is to say, its politics are hard to gauge and at times difficult to decipher. The rise of Donald Trump, from an outlier, that no one is taking seriously to the Republican Presidential nominee, plays out in the background, as the severity of Ailes comprehensive harassment becomes clear. Yet, at no point does the film choose to explicitly link the two. It decides to forego the ‘grab them by the pussy’ audiotape or the accusations from at least 23 women, from the 1980s to today, detailing harassment and abuse from Trump himself. It also neglects to mention that after Ailes resigned from Fox News, and took a sizeable pay-out to the tune of $40 million, he walked straight into a job as an advisor for Trump’s presidential campaign

Bombshell / LIONSGATE

You might well wonder if considering the film’s politics necessary. Is this not a bipartisan tale of overcoming sexual harassment? The answer depends on how you view the ‘Fox News’ of it all. Bombshell isn’t any sort of ‘leftist propaganda’ trying to tear down the Fox News monolith. Nor is it really a heroic story of three conservative women, that praises their efforts to cleanse this media giant of bad behaviour. Instead, it sits somewhere weakly in the middle, too scared to really wrestle with the complexity of the situation. One that follows women who worked at the network that helped get Trump elected that has been accused multiple times of doctoring video footage, as well as having severe issues with race and islamophobia. As Alison Willmore wrote for Vulture, the film never significantly engages with the ‘the ideological Jenga of trying to push back at a particular form of oppression while trying to leave all the structures that support it undisturbed.

Outside of the murky omissions and the ignored parallels, the movie faces another hurdle. First and foremost, it is essential to note that sexual harassment, no matter who it happens to, is bad. But when it comes to cinema an audience needs someone to root for, someone you care about and, on some level, like. Thus, the other obstacle facing Bombshell simply: how do you make Megyn Kelly a hero? 

The first step? You get Charlize Theron to play her and have her give an immersive, gripping, and enthralling performance. As an actress, she is relatively unmatched in her commitment to transformation, both here and in her Oscar-winning turn as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster. But Theron isn’t just about make-up and prosthetics, her range is wide-reaching as evidenced by her comedic performances in last year’s Long Shot or 2011’s Young Adult. Theron uses those comedy chops to great effect for some of the films lighter or more self-referential moments – including a fourth-wall-breaking introduction to the Fox News machine. 

The second step? You avoid the stories that made Megyn Kelly the conservative controversy magnet she is. You choose instead to focus on her more palatable actions; namely her challenging of Donald Trump’s misogyny during the 2016 presidential primaries and less on her various shall we say… contrary opinions (though the film does, briefly, address her ‘Santa is White’ comments). 

Bombshell / LIONSGATE

It’s also useful to surround Theron with a cast of likeable and renowned actors including Kate McKinnon’s secretly suffering liberal staffer, Rob Delaney’s sympathetic producer, and Alison Janney’s gruff-voiced attorney. Elsewhere Nicole Kidman is strong as Gretchen Carlson, the original whistleblower, but is in third place, narratively behind Kelly and Margot Robbie’s fictional Kayla Pospisil; a young conservative woman with a dream to be on Fox. Pospisil, our gateway into the newsroom, is a composite character cleverly utilised to show the extent of horrific Ailes abuse without having to expose or monetise any specific woman’s interactions with him. 

Behind the camera, the mixed-messages continue with Jay Roach, the director of grounded political TV-Movies like 2012’s Game Change (that saw Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin), teaming up with Charles Randolph, the writer of the flashy and trick-filled The Big Short. As a result, stylistically, Bombshell falls somewhere in between. The handheld camera and intrusive close-ups give the film a sense of realism. That the action is captured almost like a documentary with multiple cameras on the go at once gives a claustrophobic and newslike feel. Then, occasionally, the film widens out and has actors talk directly to the camera or blends it’s ‘fictional’ narrative with actual documentary as the audio of real testimonies made by six women who accused Ailes of assault are heard with accompanying photos. Yet, the grounded nature of Roach and the showy antics of Randolph never quite gel, leaving it to feel like you’re flicking between two different movies – both of which could be quite interesting.

Bombshell may be a mess politically, disjointed stylistically, and have plenty of other significant issues but, somehow… it’s still entertaining. Maybe it’s a testament to the casting, with Theron especially doing the heavy lifting to pull it all together in spite of everything stacked against her. Perhaps the film is messy, but not quite messy enough. Bombshell might be like the pile of clothes you stuff under your bed or into the bottom of your wardrobe. The room looks clean enough, but the mess is still there, lurking, and you’re going to have to deal with it someday. 

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Bombshell is in U.K cinemas from 17th January 2020

Also Read: JoJo Rabbit (Review)

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Review: Jojo Rabbit

January 8, 2020

What’s Going On?

Jojo Rabbit is a film about 10-year-old Jojo living in the last months of Hitler’s Germany. Jojo is a very devoted member of the Hitler Youth and believes so passionately in the Nazi party his imaginary friend is Adolf Hitler. Jojo lives with his unconventional mother and to his surprise a Jewish girl who his mother is hiding – the patriotic Jojo is torn between his devotion to the Nazi Party and not wanting to get his mother into serious trouble. It is described by its director as an anti-hate satire and is largely a comedy but obviously touches on many issues full of tragedy and horror.

Behind The Scenes

Jojo Rabbit (variety.com)

Jojo Rabbit is the latest film by Taiki Waititi, director of Thor: Ragnorak, What We Do In The Shadows and many more, It is based on the book Caging Skies by Christine Leunens. I have not seen all of Waititi’s films but every one that I have seen is very, very good, even doing the impossible and making me care about Thor.

In Front Of The Camera

Jojo Rabbit (source: bristol247.com)

Jojo is played by newcomer Roman Griffin Davis, Elsa, the Jewish girl in hiding, by Thomasin McKenzie, probably best known for her role of Tom in Leave No Trace. There is a large ensemble cast including Scarlett Johansson as Rosie, Jojo’s mother, Sam Rockwell as world, and possibly war, weary Captain Klenzendorf, Stephen Merchant as the local Gestapo officer and Rebel Wilson as an extremely enthusiastic Nazi. And of course, Taiki Waititi played Hitler (Jojo’s imaginary-friend Hitler anyway).

Does It Work?

Jojo Rabbit (source: refinery29.com)

I had very high expectations for this film, mainly because of my love of Taiki Waititi’s work but also the trailer had me hooked immediately. I shall say straight away that I loved it. Many films have shown up fascism, the Nazi Party and Hitler as evil, ridiculous, cruel and worthy of mockery, Jojo Rabbit does this but also makes a strong case for love, freedom, kindness and dancing. The film is moving, capturing the many different ways fascism hurt people, as well as being very funny. The scenes with Jojo and Hitler are particularly funny, with Hitler trying to find parallels with his world of global domination with Jojo’s struggles as a young boy. Much fun is had with Captain Klenzendorf who often takes a sideways glance at Nazi propaganda and this works even better when coupled to Rebel Wilson’s character, who wholeheartedly believes all of it.

The crucial part of the film is that Jojo is not really a Nazi, he’s too young to understand what that means and whenever he is given the opportunity to really be a Nazi he doesn’t take it. Early in the film older members of the Hitler Youth want him to kill a rabbit, to show his strength, and he won’t do it (hence his nickname Jojo Rabbit). Jojo is basically a good person, the same is true for his friend Yorki, a similarly enthusiastic member of Hitler Youth whose message of hatred and cruelty crumbles before his basic good naturedness.

It’s always dangerous mixing comedy with topics so infused with horror, hatred and outright evil but I think Waititi succeeds admirably. At no point does it feel like the film being funny comes before showing Nazi Germany for what it was. For all, it’s a comedy it has two of the most moving scenes I have seen in recent years, one of which I am still trying to come to terms with.

There were times it reminded me of Death of Stalin, another film mixing comedy and the darkest of events. When we saw the daily madness of living under such a regime, the bizarre lies you would have to tell yourself, the complete abandonment of common sense and logic, as well as the horror that you could get caught up in these horrors so easily.

Jojo Rabbit (deseret.com)

The film revolves around Jojo and Elsa, and both actors are great, Roman Griffin Davis never strays so close to Nazism that the audience turns against him. Thomasin McKenzie runs through a gamut of emotions of righteous anger to hopelessness perfectly and believably. The ensemble cast is very good, with Scarlett Johansson giving a tremendous and at times heartbreaking performance. Sam Rockwell’s performance is an odd one, in many ways we are supposed to like Captain Klenzendorf, the eccentric frequently drunk soldier who never seems entirely convinced by fascism and does good where he can, while at the same time he wears the uniform and fought in the army and I’m still unsure what Waititi was going for with this character. Stephen Merchant is very funny as the local Gestapo officer, an embodiment of all the nonsense and stupidity of fascism. And there is Waititi playing the imaginary friend Hitler, a mix of charismatic tyrant and idiotic, petulant child, at times trying to buoy Jojo’s spirits or placing insane demands on him.

Jojo is a film at times is funny and even manages to be joyous about life as well as being deeply moving and thoughtful and it is a rare director who can this in one film.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

JoJo Rabbit (Official Trailer)

Also Read: Parasite (Review)

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