Thursday, 1 September 2016

Venezia 73: First contact on day 2

The press room was buzzing after this morning's screening of Denis Villeneuve's brainy new sci-fi thriller Arrival (that's Amy Adams above), which was also the starry red carpet tonight, along with Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander, of course. Here's what I saw today...

dir Denis Villeneuve; with Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner 16/Can ****.
With an enormous suggestion about the potential of humanity, this darkly emotive science-fiction thriller grabs the audience by the brain and never lets go. So while the film feels somewhat overserious and densely packed, director Denis Villeneuve also offers huge rewards to viewers who pay close attention. And his actors deliver performances that burst with both intelligence and emotion.

dir-scr Alice Lowe; with Alice Lowe, Jo Hartley 16/UK ****
Call this a serial killer movie from the heart. With her debut feature as director, Alice Lowe creates a rare black comedy that makes the audience complicit with murder. But even more than a riotous rampage of grisliness, this is an emotionally resonant exploration of the innate craziness of pregnancy, vividly capturing that feeling that an alien creature is living inside, taking over your life.

Pamilya Ordinaryo
dir-scr Eduardo W Roy Jr; with Ronwaldo Martin, Hasmine Kilip 16/Ph ***.
Relentlessly grim in its realism, this is a drama of desperation from the streets of Manila. It explores an underclass of people living rough with no hope of getting a fair shake. Even though the central story is hugely compelling, justice is elusive here. This is bracingly honest filmmaking that finds glimmers of humanity at every turn, even as hope seems to disappear.

Films on the slate for tomorrow are Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals, Francois Ozon's Frantz and the Italian drama Le Ultime Cose.

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