As we were away for a chunk of October we didn’t watch many movies. In fact, I saw the two London Film Festival screenings by myself…..
In the Shadow of the Moon [Streaming – 5 October]
A Philadelphia police officer struggles with a lifelong obsession to track down a mysterious serial killer whose crimes defy explanation.
I enjoy a good time-travel-paradox-what-just-happened movie like the next man and this was that thing. It is a strong portrayal of the toll an obsession can take on a person and the impact it has on the people around them. It wasn’t earth-shattering but had a good cast, a story that wasn’t too WTF and was nicely done. A good choice for staying in on a Saturday night. Though let’s face it, at my age I always stay in on a Saturday night 😀
Dazzling details: directed by Jim Mickle, ITSOTM is 1h 55 long and rated 15 for strong language, gory images and drug misuse
The Lighthouse [LFF screening – 6 October]
The hypnotic and hallucinatory tale of two lighthouse keepers on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.
So basically Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe are on this remote island at the end of the nineteenth century carrying out their duties as lighthouse keepers. The weather is dreadful, there are whispers of the supernatural (mermaids!) and as time passes the two men veer between comradeship and hatred with a single destination – madness. It isn’t clear whether what they are experiencing is real or not but that doesn’t really matter, because the film is extraordinary – beautifully shot in black & white, it is ominous, claustrophobic and full of dread. It is also surprisingly very funny in places; I did laugh out loud, mostly at the language used which is colourful, to say the least. The two lead performances are astonishing, and I had never really noticed before how unmodern Pattinson can look.
I was thrilled at the screening to hear both the director Robert Eggers and Willem Dafoe (in the flesh!) talk about their intentions and experiences. It’s not going to be for everyone, but I loved it. It reminded me a little of The Servant and will stay with me for some time.
Dazzling details: directed as I said by Mr Eggers, The Lighthouse is 1h 49 long and rated 15 for strong sex, nudity, violence, gore and disturbing images.
Marriage Story [LFF screening – 7 October]
Noah Baumbach’s incisive and compassionate look at a marriage breaking up and a family staying together.
Straight from the poster and telling you nothing about what turned out to be my favourite of the three films covered in this post.
Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson are married; he’s a well-regarded indie theatre director in NY and she is an actress who has been given a TV series in LA. Unable to resolve the tensions between them they head for divorce and the film follows them through the horrible experience.
What I really liked about this film (as someone who has been divorced) is how realistic it was (setting aside the business that is show background) and in particular how both lead characters are just people, not goodies or baddies.
There are some fabulous supporting performances but the success of the film rests on the shoulders of the two leads who are just fabulous. It’s absorbing and emotionally complex and my love for Adam Driver remains intact.
Dazzling details: Mr Baumbach’s masterpiece is 2h 16 long and rated 15 for strong language
Two last things:
- how can three such different films get rated the same – and what do you have to do to get rated 18 these days?
- I’ve just noticed that the posters are basically dudes looking moody