Rating: The Good – 68.8 Genre: Horror Duration: 119 mins Director: Scott Derrickson Stars: Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Shohreh Aghdashloo
Laura Linney stars as a successful defence attorney who agrees to defend a Catholic priest (Tom Wilkinson) when a young woman who he performed an exorcism on died shortly thereafter. As she delves into the case, she not only begins to believe the priest’s story but she comes to suspect that the same dark forces are now working against her. Scott Derrickson’s film strikes an original chord within the genre by attempting to examine the case from a legal perspective and he sets a wonderfully sinister atmosphere that peaks in some truly chilling moments. Linney’s skill in the lead lends even more credibility to the film’s serious aspirations as does the wider casting from Wilkinson’s beleaguered clergyman to Campbell Scott’s determined prosecutor. However, things go wrong with the screenplay just as it should be ratcheting up towards an intriguing conclusion. The relevance of the exorcism to the law is only barely glanced at as evidenced by Wilkinson’s marginalisation as a character and the main plot gets a little silly towards the close. Most disappointing of all, however, the creepy subplot concerning Linney’s inexplicable experiences never really amounts to anything. Instead, the movie satisfies itself in the main by offering multiple retrospective accounts of the events leading up to and including the exorcism which themselves bear an awfully familiar bent. At the very least, a Rashoman-like contrast between the various firsthand accounts would’ve added an interesting layer of ambiguity to the proceedings but given that they’re all in accordance with each other, we’re left with a clear but less intriguing delineation between truth and mistruth. Thus, it can be argued that The Exorcism of Emily Rose turns its back on its most promising story angles to serve its most ordinary:- a real shame give the calibre of talent on hand.
Rating: The Good – 80.1 Genre: Thriller Duration: 119 mins Director: Tony Gilroy Stars: George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson
Superb thriller made in the spirit of those great 1970′s films which were defined by paranoia, corruption, and a slowly built sense of threat. Michael Clayton (George Clooney) is a lawyer who specialises in fixing problems incurred by his law firm’s biggest clients. When one of their own senior partners (Tom Wilkinson) has a mental breakdown which threatens to lose a class action suit for a major client, Clayton is called in to contain the situation and becomes embroiled in a corporate cover-up that ultimately puts his life in danger. Michael Clayton is a slow-burning and dialogue-driven film that focuses on the dark side to corporate life. The story thoughtfully explores how the various characters deal with the demands of that life and the commitment required to see it through and/or turn one’s back on it. Clooney is fantastic as the mysterious lawyer and he keeps the audience guessing right up until the end. Wilkinson is in thunderous form and dominates every scene he features in as does Tilda Swinton in her Oscar winning turn as the nasty corporate executive. Despite its slow pace, Tony Gilroy’s disciplined direction ensures that Michael Clayton remains compelling throughout while Robert Elswit’s cinematography and John Gilroy’s immaculate editing make it a treat to watch. It all comes together wonderfully at the end with a final scene that appropriately takes its lead from The Long Good Friday.
Rating: The Good – 73.8 Genre: Crime Duration: 114 mins Director: Guy Ritchie Stars: Gerard Butler, Tom Hardy, Tom Wilkinson, Mark Strong
“You didn’t realise that they had guns? Big, long, dangerous machine guns with war criminals attached to the trigger?” After a disappointing eight years on the back of Lock Stock and Snatch., Guy Ritchie returned to stylish form with this playful caper movie wherein a bunch of loveable rogues get caught up in a real estate scam between London’s underworld and a Russian oligarch. Things are made even more unpredictable when the junkie rockstar stepson of London’s chief mobster fakes his demise and starts stirring the shit from the shadows, just for kicks.
Credit where it’s due, RocknRolla is one hell of an original crime feature. The characters, the dynamics between them, the plots, and the set pieces are all fresh and forged with an often twisted hilarity. And that it’s all cooked up in a big pot of fun and easy going humour ensures that it’s finest virtue is sheer enjoyability. Moreover, it was critical for Ritchie to take himself less seriously after the pretentiousness of his previous two outings. The dialogue isn’t as overtly sharp as Lock Stock and Snatch. but it’s more than tinted with wit and satire. This more mature and seasoned approach to Ritchie’s writing is a nice development in his career and with the real estate plot, it was necessary to the film. However, his directorial style is still defined by the burning intensity of a young talent trying to catch the eye of his audience but given the carefree nature of the film, it doesn’t hurt the script. In fact, it complements the playfulness of the plot.
In front of the camera, Ritchie assembles the cream of Britain’s current crop of talent with Gerard Butler, Tom Hardy, and Idris Elba playing the small time chancers and setting a charming tone both as a team and on their own. Thandie Newton is in delicious form as a deviously eccentric accountant and Tom Wilkinson scores yet again as the colourful if sometimes cartoon like mobster kingpin. Best of all though, are Toby Kebbell and Mark Strong. The former, as the eponymous meddler, puts in an enigmatic and lyrical turn to meet his cockney character’s writing head on. The latter, as Wilkinson’s charismatic smooth talking trouble shooter, shows yet again that he’s the most interesting British actor on the go at the moment.