BLACK AND BLUE

This thrilling action adventure is superbly scripted by British writer Peter A. Dowling and imaginatively directed by Deon Taylor. The action takes place in New Orleans and follows the story of Alice West (Naomie Harris) a black female officer who finds herself on the run after she accidentally captures on her body cam the brutal murder of a young drug dealer shot in point blank. She has nowhere to hide and the situation escalates to epic proportions when she realises that the murder was committed by corrupt cops, who immediately put an order for her arrest…

Naomi Harris deserves awards for her outstanding performance as the vulnerable but deeply resourceful heroine who manages to outsmart the corrupt cops especially after she decides to team up with Milo “Mouse Jackson (Tyrese Gibson), an old friend from the community who at first is reluctant to get involved with the police. These two actors work brilliantly together but finally the movie belongs to Harris’ luminous presence in a rare leading role in an action thriller not often associated with a female protagonist. But it is Taylor’s urgent storytelling and uneasy use of his camera movements that demand attention from the very first sequence and keep one hooked until the final credits.

A superior action thriller intelligently told and beautifully acted!

 

MONOS

The crowning glory of last week’s London Film Festival, where it won Best Film in the Official Competition – part of a terrific selection of great innovative work.

Brazilian director Alejandro Landes is in a class totally of his own – his highly original piece of filmmaking is one of the cinematic events of the year. The action takes place on a remote mountain in Latin America where a group of young soldiers are training hard all day long while during the night they indulge themselves in sexual activities amongst each other. Life ticks away until an ambush by an unseen enemy forces them deep into the jungle…

Landes’ distinct looking film has already been compared to LORD OF THE FLIES but the only thing they share in common is when order in the jungle disintegrates into chaos. The young actors playing characters with names that vary from Rambo to Wolf and Dog deliver highly committed and engaging performances. The superb cinematography captures the spirit of these rebels most magnificently in lash but beautiful landscapes.

 

THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO

Joe Talbot makes a remarkable directorial debut with his highly original and unique film which was deservedly nominated in the First Feature Competition at the recent London Film Festival.

Jimmie Fails (Jimmie Fails) is a real dreamer and hopes to reclaim the Victorian house his grandfather built in the middle of San Francisco. Most people believe that Jimmie is searching for the impossible dream apart from his best friend Montgomery Allen (Jonathan Majors) who encourages him fully in order to fulfil his great expectations…

Talbot creates a dream like city with eccentric but fully fleshed characters not often represented in American cinema.

A truly remarkable and intelligent piece of filmmaking unlike anything you’ve seen before which needs to be experienced on the big screen!

 

BY THE GRACE OF GOD

The amazing French director Francois Ozon continues to deliver unpredictable films throughout the years, where he effortlessly manages to switch genre with each project. His latest – like the Hollywood Oscar winning SPOTLIGHT – is based on true events and focuses on the Catholic Church’s blinkered view on child abuse.

Alexandre (Melvil Poupaud) lives a happy life in Lyon with his wife and children until he finds out that the priest who abused him when he was in the scouts is still working with children. He decides to take matters into his own hands and expose the priest but first he needs two other victims to come out into the open and tell their stories…

It is a compelling film but sadly still very relevant to our times where the Church continues to turn a blind eye when it comes to child abuse. Those responsible are still very much in power and carry on their duties as if nothing had happened to these poor and traumatized children. Ozon’s vital film speaks out uncomfortable truths – it is superbly made, terrifically played and essential viewing!
A GOOD WOMAN IS HARD TO FIND

Sarah Bolger delivers one of the most fantastic performances of the year as the title’s good woman. The action takes place in Northern Ireland and follows the story Sarah, a mother of two struggling to make ends meet following her husband’s recent murder witnessed by their young son who subsequently becomes mute. But then one day totally out the blue a drug dealer seeks protection in her home and succeeding events force the sweet and loving Sarah to become fierce like a wild animal sinking into desperate measures in order to protect her children…

The film works dividends thanks to Bolger’s amazing presence- she begins the story as an utterly innocent and angelic looking woman before circumstances force her to take matters into her own hands and act in such an unbelievable manner she never thought possible in her wildest dreams. Some of the other supporting characters are verging on the stereotypical but still director Abner Pastoll keeps the mesmerising action flowing with energy and blood soaking fashion.

Worth seeing just for Sarah Bolger’s turn!

George Savvides

 

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