Thursday, 16 October 2014

LFF 8: It's all about parenthood

Steve Carell and filmmaker Bennett Miller were on hand at the 58th London Film Festival today to present their new drama Foxcatcher, based on the true story of John du Pont and his rather outrageously creepy sponsorship of the US Olympic wrestling team. Carell is being mentioned as a sure-fire Oscar nominee for the role, which sees him under several layers of facial prosthetics and body padding - but it's also a remarkably understated performance that sends chills down the spine. They were joined on the gala red carpet tonight by Sienna Miller, and also on hand was Xavier Dolan with his Cannes-winning film Mommy. Here are some more highlights from the festival (I've uploaded several reviews, with more to come)...

dir Bennett Miller; with Steve Carell, Channing Tatum 14/US ****
After Capote and Moneyball, director Miller turns his hand to another true story, although this one is so unnerving that the film is rather difficult to like. But it's strikingly well made, building an almost unbearable sense of creepy tension through characters who are portrayed bravely by actors working beyond their comfort zones.

dir Xavier Dolan; with Anne Dorval, Antoine-Olivier Pilon 14/Can ****.
With his most audacious film to date (which is saying something for the 25-year-old writer-director of films like I Killed My Mother and Laurence Anyway),  Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan creates a whole new cinematic language to explore the astoundingly complex relationship between a mother and son. The film is difficult, confounding and sometimes maddeningly honest.

The Salvation
dir Kristian Levring; with Mads Mikkelsen, Eva Green 14/Den ****
A remarkably fresh take on the Western, this Danish film (shot in South Africa) is packed with believable characters in realistic situations. Director Levring captures the genre's recognisable elements without ever falling back on a simplistic cliche, which makes the events eerily easy to identify with, especially where they involve moral dilemmas. FULL REVIEW >

Catch Me Daddy
dir Daniel Wolfe, Matthew Wolfe; with Sameena Jabeen Ahmed, Conor McCarron 14/UK ***
Revealing its story in hints and fragments, and relying on some understanding from a clued-up audience, this dark dramatic thriller is so vividly made that any shortcomings in the uneven cast and jarring narrative are more than made up for in atmosphere. Not only is it genuinely terrifying and emotionally wrenching, but it also touches on a very important current issue.

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