Saturday, 22 October 2011

LFF Day 11: Tess goes east

Freida Pinto and Michael Winterbottom turned up at the London Film Festival today with Trishna, their India-set version of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles. Meanwhile, Andrea Arnold was also on hand with most of the cast for her new film version of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. Also in town today: Bruno Dumont (Hors Satan), Robbie Pickering (Natural Selection), Nirpal Bhogal (Sket) and Ole Endresen (King Curling). Here are comments on five of today's highlights...

dir Michael Winterbottom; with Freida Pinto, Riz Ahmed 11/Ind ***
With this darkly edgy romance, Winterbottom adapts his third Thomas Hardy novel, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, and sets the action in India. It's colourful and dramatic, but lacks the passion the story requires to grab our emotions... FULL REVIEW >

Wuthering Heights
dir Andrea Arnold; with Kaya Scodelario, James Howson 11/UK ****
Emily Bronte's novel is one of the most unsettling books you'll ever read, so it's about time a filmmaker made a darkly disturbing movie out of it. And Arnold's movie is like no other period adaptation we've ever seen: gritty, messy and thoroughly involving... FULL REVIEW >

The Ides of March
dir George Clooney; with Ryan Gosling, George Clooney 11/US ****
As a writer-director, Clooney delivers another complex exploration of American politics in this lively drama about the pressures of the campaign trail. The plot is somewhat theatrical, but the stellar cast brings it to life... FULL REVIEW >

Natural Selection
dir Robbie Pickering; with Rachael Harris, Matt O'Leary 11/US ****
A skilful mixture of comedy and drama makes this the kind of film that keeps us off balance from start to finish. Like the central character, we are challenged by every twist and turn of the plot. Which also means that it's hugely involving... FULL REVIEW >

dir Morten Tyldum; with Aksel Hennie, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau 11/Nor ****
Based on Jo Nesbo's bestselling novel, this freewheeling action-thriller is hugely entertaining because, besides being unpredictable and suspenseful, it's also relentlessly hilarious. But in fine Scandinavian style, it's played dead straight. It centres on the fast-talking job recruiter Roger (Hennie) who has a secret business in art theft to support his leggy blonde wife (Synnove Macody Lund), whom he knows is way out of his league. But one particularly tempting job results in him being hunted by a high-tech killer and the cops who now think that he's a vicious killer. The story propels Roger at full-speed through a series of outrageous situations that are amusingly deadpan while being genuinely scary at the same time. There's not much to the film, but it's so much fun, and the hero is so easy to identify with, that we can't help but be hugely entertained.

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