Thursday, February 08, 2007


Babel, Cineworld, Broad Street, Birmingham, Saturday January 20, 5.15pm.
London To Brighton, Odeon Telford, Tuesday January 23, 8pm.
Blood Diamond, Odeon Telford, Wednesday January 31, 5.30pm.

Inarritu State

With Babel 21 Grams' director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu returns to a multi-narrative structure, this time featuring three interlocking stories spanning Morocco, Tokyo and the US/Mexico border. Some of the grit and fatalism contained within his previous film, however, are jettisoned for a more commercial and crowd-pleasing feel, for although the story's participants are faced with hazard and isolation at almost every turn, the film seems concerned to leave its liberal audience with some glib, well-meaning reassurance by the subdued (anti)climax.

The acting and direction are top-notch, and for the most part the cross-cutting plots are compelling and occasionally very moving, with subtle points made about the obstacles borders, bureaucracies and xenophobia can place in the way of human beings interacting to mutual benefit. Yet for all these strong qualities, Babel's overall impact is diminished by the improbabilities of the plot (difficult to expand further without providing spoilers) and its' inability to draw together the story strands towards a genuinely dramatic denouement.

Sussex And Violence

Paul Andrew Williams' London To Brighton follows the lead of Andrea Arnold's Red Road in seeking to realign the low-budget British thriller away from transatlantic Tarantino knock-offs towards more gritty and realistic fare with a keen sense of local milieu. The film begins with two young prostitutes getting the hell out of London to the titular seaside location, the sequence of events leading them to this great escape intercutting with their hot pursuit by a limping pimp (a memorable performance from Johnny Harris) who needs to find the girls to save his own life at the hands of a criminal ganglord his bounty have offended.

Cheerful and subtle it ain't, and by the end the plot improbabilities and spiraling OTT violence conspire against its' intended realism, but Williams manages the no mean feat of getting you to care for a set of characters who are all pretty unpleasant to one degree or another, while pulling out a satisfying climax from what seems at one point a pretty hopeless situation. If you're looking for a lean, mean and moody antidote to happy-clappy Hollywood fare London To Brighton is just the ticket.

Diamond Seizers

Edward Zwick's Blood Diamond follows Leo diCaprio as a Rhodesian mercenary-turned-diamond smuggler in pursuit of the titular gem, in an Africa-set action-adventure whose points about the cruelties endured by locals in conflict areas where diamonds are found, are well-made without intruding on a genuinely exciting thriller plot. DiCaprio wasn't the best thing about Scorsese's The Departed but he most definitely is here, with a convincing accent and high-energy performance propelling the plot forward. He's ably assisted by Jennifer Connelly as a tanned American journalist whose taste for an exclusive is matched only by her hots for rough-and-ready bad guys, although strangely the chemistry isn't quite allowed to ignite into the kind of passion which might have added effective romance to the movie's other fine qualities. Nevertheless, Blood Diamond is a cut above your standard Hollywood nonsense and really should be sought out.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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5:00 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

Not been to the flicks for ages, but we could well be going this weekend. 'Blood Diamond' is likely to be high on the list of possible choices. Is 'Hot Fuzz' out yet?

1:54 PM  
Blogger Dead Kenny said...

'Hot Fuzz' is previewing from tonight, Ben, I believe.

9:59 PM  

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