Friday, June 5, 2015

Reviews: Some Recent Films

The Falling (Carol Morley, 2014)
When one of the pupils in a late-1960s all-girls school suddenly drops dead, her best friend starts displaying the same symptoms, her classmates following suit.  Are they sick?  Cursed?  Faking it?  Or is it all in their heads?  This bewitching exploration of teenaged sexuality provides no easy answers to these questions; however, for my part, I would actually have prefered it to be more ambiguous, as I felt the solution too heavily implied, perhaps due to the amount of coverage of Morley's research into mass hysteria.  Still, if you've ever wondered what would happen if Girl, Interrupted met The Devils, this is the film for you.  It's beautifully shot, edited, and sound designed, and the big revelation will leave you stunned.

A Royal Night Out (Julian Jarrold, 2015)

It's VE Day, and all of Britain has taken to the streets to celebrate.  All, that is, except for the royal family.  When Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret finally convince their father to let them go out incognito, it looks like they're in for a dull evening with some stuffy old courtiers, but then Margaret runs off, and it's up to Elizabeth, aided by an AWOL airman, to find her before she causes a scandal.  A cute little film that would have perhaps been better suited to television, A Royal Night Out was filled with a lot more humour than I expected it to be.  I had trouble, though, suspending disbelief for this mostly-made up tale (a recent Channel 4 documentary on the real royal night out suggests that their evening was far tamer); while Princess Margaret's characterisation was wholly believable, it was hard to imagine the Queen as a young princess.

Mad Max:  Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)
When Furiosa, one of the Citadel's most respected tanker drivers, helps the warlord's favourite "brides" run away, it provides the perfect opportunity for Max to escape.  Circumstances bring them together, and Max and Furiosa team up to race across the desert and bring the girls to safety.  A pace that never lets up, strong characterisation, and the effects--mostly done practically, not by CGI--look AMAZING.  You could level the criticism that, for a Mad Max movie, it really isn't about Mad Max, and so why didn't Miller just make a post-apolcalyptic movie about freeing sex slaves?  However, Fury Road delivers a message about female empowerment and liberation that really shouldn't be causing all the controversy it has (Empowered women in an action movie?? Oh, the humanity!).  But don't worry, meninists, there are so many explosions you'll hardly notice the feminism.  It will just seep into your tiny little brains while you're watching shit blow up, and, who knows, in a few hours time you might actually feel like treating women a little bit more like actual human beings.