Thursday, 15 October 2015

LFF 9: Don't be shy

Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett were the stars of last night's red carpet premiere of Carol, and Blanchett will be out again on Saturday for the premiere of Truth and to be honoured with the BFI Fellowship at this year's London Film Festival. Tonight's red carpet stars include Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz and Paul Dano for Paolo Sorrentino's Youth, and Agyness Deyn, Peter Mullan and Kevin Guthrie for Terence Davies' Sunset Song. Here are a more highlights...

dir Paolo Sorrentino; with Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel 15/Italy ****
Gorgeously shot in a spectacular setting and edited with cheeky energy, this atmospheric film has a rather freeform plot exploring age and mortality from unexpected angles. But the characters are so witty and offbeat that they can't help but hold the attention, and writer-director Paolo Sorrentino plays engagingly with artistic ambition and romantic passion to keep the film utterly riveting.

Sunset Song 
dir Terence Davies, with Agyness Deyn, Peter Mullan 15/UK ****
Adapted from Lewis Grassic Gibbon's classic 1932 novel, this is a wrenchingly beautiful look at life in rural Scotland, crafted with real artistry by Terence Davies. The film has an unusually period tone, keeping everything bracingly realistic while observing events from a darkly personal perspective.

Closet Monster 
dir Stephen Dunn; with Connor Jessup, Aaron Abrams 15/Can ***.
Filmmaker Stephen Dunn takes a strikingly introspective look into the life of a young boy who feels like his life is spiralling out of control. Beautifully shot and edited, the film mixes artfully stylised flights of fancy with earthy themes that cut to the heart of big issues like bullying and self-loathing. But more than that, this is a thoughtful exploration of someone learning to accept his sexuality.

dir Branden Kramer; with Ashley Benson, Matt McGorry 15/US **
Yet another gimmicky found-footage style movie, this feels more like a polemic about the dangers of webcams than a thriller with a cogent story. While it's slick and unnerving, filmmaker Branden Kramer seems so intrigued by his idea that he completely forgets to establish proper characters or situations. It looks cool and has some solid freak-outs, but never seems to have a point.

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