LFF 2022: Klokkenluider – Review

Release Date – TBC, Cert – N/A, Run-time – 1 hour 25 minutes, Director – Neil Maskell

A government whistle-blower (Amit Shah) and his wife (Sura Dohnke) must wait in a remote Belgian cottage with two armed bodyguards (Tom Burke, Roger Evans) whilst they await the arrival of a journalist (Jenna Coleman)

With Klokkenluider Neil Maskell proves just how broad the branches can reach, and themselves be, from the initial roots of dark humour. Through anxiety, fear, awkwardness and struggling-to-play-to-character there’s plenty to laugh at throughout the simple premise of the film. It’s one that could perhaps be played out on stage, yet thanks to Maskell’s writing and direction, and the performances of the small cast, there’s plenty to help make this fit the screen.

We meet Ewan (Amit Shah) – a man who is “pretty much in a state of permanent f*cking panic” – and his wife Silke (Sura Dohnke) residing in a remote cottage in Belgium. An innocent trip to the bakery in the nearby village is soon twisted as Ewan fears that it might give away the location he and his wife are at, especially whilst they wait for bodyguards to arrive. The reason for their escape, and the protection, is due to their impending whistleblowing after the government IT worker discovers shocking secrets whilst at work – secrets which are sustained with mystery and threat throughout as we never discover what they are. Once the tough-guy figures of Tom Burke and Roger Evans arrive all that’s needed is the journalist (Jenna Coleman) to leak the story to.

Unprofessionalism rises as the bottles are opened, and indeed Evans’ character finds it difficult to keep his own secrets – “you’re about as hush hush as Metallica”. We see him and Burke struggle with each other as the ‘tough-guy’ schtick is quickly dropped. While they try to keep that persona in such an unexpected and unconventional situation it’s difficult to do so, providing a number of laughs both from them and the responses of Shah and Dohnke. This is a true ensemble comedy and the performances all bounce off each other excellently with the various gags which crop up throughout, gaining plenty of response. All helping to push and proceed the simple premise.

Yet, no one manages to outshine Jenna Coleman as soon as she properly walks onto the scene. Bringing a gloriously sweary performance which could rival Ralph Fiennes in In Bruges she powers through them all twice-over within a minute or two of being on screen. Pushing forward the next stage of the film in a way only her character could in this film it’s a fantastic show-stealing performance which manages to bring in the following stages of true darkness, and potential tension, as the film begins to play with its elements of mystery to bring the viewer further in as the reveal of the reason for all of these events comes more into play.

In the build up we have a film about waiting and the humour of it, tinged with the anxiety of consequences and holding potentially vital information. While only 85 minutes long the film manages to pack plenty of laughs in to its conversations and interactions. Rattling along quickly while managing to get across the feeling and humour of an awkward, drawn-out evening. Maskell himself has worked with Ben Wheatley in the past and there are certainly tones of his style in this particular film. Held within the darkness, portrayed in both tone, structure and performances. It all comes together to create something highly entertaining within the lightly sinister edges.

There’s plenty of darkness wound into Klokkenluider, mixed into the humour of anxiety and waiting the performances highlight all of this within the frequently funny conversations and contrasting characters, including a triumphantly sweary standout turn from Jenna Coleman.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Babylon – Review

Cert – 18, Run-time – 3 hours 9 minutes, Director – Damien Chazelle

As the talkies make their way onto the screen the lives of three hopeful Hollywood figures (Margot Robbie, Diego Calva, Brad Pitt) intertwine with different fates for each.

There’s a maximalist style akin to Baz Luhrmann within the outrageous party sequence which opens Damien Chazelle’s Babylon. Yet, there’s a more absorbing quality on display here as we’re thrown head first into the world of unashamed public (and in one or two cases private) sex, drugs, booze and beyond care-free attitudes. All caught through the flow of the camera. Instead of frantic cutting and editing to enhance the maximalist style Chazelle, alongside editor Tom Cross, instead allows for the frame to be filled to excess with all the sights and senses on display – the images shouting into the lens that this film has an 18 rating for a reason. The cinematography, production design, costume design and roaring sound bringing you further into the expansive scene.

It’s here that we see the initial crossover of the lives of hidden assistant Manuel ‘Manny’ Torres (Diego Calva) and hopeful starlet Nellie LaRoy (Margot Robbie) – a young woman adamant of her soon-to-be-recognised status; after all star’s are born, not made, and she was born a star. Over the course of the film we see their careers rise, whether in front of the camera or behind it, having to quickly adapt not just to the business itself but the way in which it itself is having to adapt with the introduction of the talkies. One figure who finds it difficult to adapt due to the response towards his vocal acting is the biggest star around Jack Conrad (Brad Pitt). While he may jump between marriages at the same rate he does bottles of booze he has the money to put towards it due to the success of the large-scale pictures he leads.

We see their changing days at once in an extended montage-like sequence cutting between the experiences of each character on set. The scenes are fast paced and well constructed as the anarchy of a battle scene in the middle of nowhere matches a rushed ‘wild child in a bar’ scene on a nailed-together wooden lot prone to disaster. It’s all tracked with ease thanks to the fact that the chaos of each instance leads into the next. Joining together thanks to the way in which background visuals and audio (Justin Hurwtiz’s score does a lot to enhance the style of particular scenes) work with the more upfront action and conversation.

When we first meet Manny he’s trying to get an elephant up a hill for a party, if you can run with this you can run with most of the stuff that makes up the lavish lifestyles that are on display, and luckily there’s plenty on display. With the natural weaving of such points and the way they are worked into the scene for characters to play with, reacting to explosions happening in the background or completely ignoring the pogo-stick-penis performance as if it’s a normal occurrence, things move along smoothly and with that aforementioned fast pace.

There’s a lot packed into the 3 hours plus course of the film, gradually piecing together a slight narrative via the arcs of the central three figures – and some of the side characters who pop up along the way with key turns including Jovan Adepo, who in particular provides a very understated performance, and Li Jun Li. There’s a lot packed into a number of the performances, including highly striking lingering shots demonstrating plenty of emotion through the punches the industry delivers amongst the humour that’s on display. Yet, amongst everything that the film fits in it must be said that it definitely feels too long by about 20-30 minutes. While it’s possible to still enjoy the various places we visit – although a strange underground sex cult-like strand with Tobey Maguire does feel like a bit too much of a tangent – and find an entertainment factor the feeling does settle in that things are going on for a bit too long.

Luckily, this isn’t down to exhaustion as things calm down somewhat in the second half so we can focus more on the arcs that the characters take as they truly set off on their own journeys, although occasionally intertwining at events and parties. More simply down to the fact that things begin to feel somewhat drawn out – particularly with the more tangent-style developments which are introduced in the final half an hour before the rather well-constructed ending. It might be a bit of a long road to get there, but luckily it’s one flooded with dizzying sights and glamour.

Overflowing with visual glamour and excess there’s plenty to be hooked in by within the entertaining chaos of Babylon. Not forgetting its core character’s arcs it might feel overlong, but luckily there’s still enough present to entertain.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Plane – Review

Release Date – 27th January 2023, Cert – 15, Run-time – 1 hour 47 minutes, Director – Jean-François Richet

A pilot (Gerard Butler) of a commercial flight must protect his crew and passengers after crash-landing on an island run by separatists.

Plane is further proof that we shouldn’t just suppose January as solely a dumping ground for weaker studio offerings and failed awards contenders (or in the UK the main round of awards releases). While going in you might presume it to be at best a perfectly fine middle-of-the-road actioner it’s not just really good but may end up as one of the tensest films of the year, even before we get into the main action on the separatist island.

Gerard Butler plays Captain Brodie Torrance, a commercial flight pilot forced to go through the middle of a storm and suffering the consequences after crash-landing on the Philippine island of Jolo. An island which the government and military don’t dare go near due to the danger posed to them by the ruthless separatists who run it. Yet, before the actual landing we have to get through the flight-gone-wrong. We may see the general character types of the few passengers on the plane, but the film doesn’t allow itself to get bogged down in such elements and details. Instead we’re thrown right into the chaos and panic of the moment with the sequence playing out in near real-time to enhance the overall effect. You’re pushed back into your seat as the tension rises. There’s a belief that the pilots know what they’re doing, but can’t properly do it due to the conditions. The whole flight is perhaps the highlight of the film. A truly brilliant sequence.

When on Jolo, however, everyone is completely out of their depth. There’s uncertainty over whether a rescue attempt will be made, where to go and what to do. Yet the biggest threat comes from island leader Junmar (Evan Dane Taylor) looking to hold everyone on the plane for ransom, or simply getting his men to kill them. There’s a real darkness to the film from this point, it’s a very different tone and style to what has come before, but it still manages to work in more of a survival thriller style vein. There’s a strong engagement factor and the fact that stakes are clearly established add to the intensity of the thrills and action. Add to that the fact that the film truly lives up to its 15 rating and there’s a lot to throw you into the fast-paced narrative.

There’s a risk, as with a number of films of this nature, that we could see characters wandering around the island going back and forth and generally creating a repetitive set of events and chapters. While we may see a tangent of Butler and Mike Colter as a fugitive being sent back to prison on the flight scouring the area to try and find a phone to call for help with it fits in rather well. In fact, most elements which could feel like a new stage never go as far to feel drawn out or like a new focus has been introduced. Everything moves along rather well thanks to the action and threat which is on display and the way that the various elements of the island are used to move things along.

Perhaps it’s the surprise factor of the film, and just how far it goes at some points, which helps to keep you engaged. There’s an entertainment factor to it. Rarely leaning into silliness or something which feels overdone yet still taking itself too seriously. Whatever it is it clicks and works and takes you along for the ride. A ride which luckily isn’t as bumpy or disastrous as the one depicted in the film, although one which is certainly as tense. An excellent piece of tense action entertainment.

Unexpectedly dark and slightly gory Plane establishes its stakes and sticks to them, ramping up the tension throughout to make for a highly entertaining piece of work. A really great surprise this early in the year.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

LFF 2022: My Robot Brother – Review

Release Date – TBC, Cert – N/A, Run-time – 1 hour 24 minutes, Director – Frederik Nørgaard

When her outdated, childish robot friend (Lars Brygmann, Kristian Holm Joensen) becomes a source of embarrassment Alberte (Selma Iljazovski) is gifted a new updated model (Philip Elbech Andresen) which is able to do more than any other robot at her school.

There’s often a clear line between a family film and a kids film. My Robot Brother may present itself as something more for slightly younger kids with its exaggerated nature and stylings, however there’s no denying that the silliness that’s a part of it allows for a good few chuckles for the older audience members. Much of this comes from Robbi (voiced by Lars Brygmann and physically performed by Kristian Holm Joensen), a tall, bulky, patched up brown robot. Looking like a kids toy that’s somehow been zapped with a growth ray he’s a big, clumsy, cuddly character plucked straight from a children’s cartoon. In many ways this is how he’s designed to be, he treats the young girl he’s designed to be the friend to like she’s much younger than she is. In a number of ways, while there may be a fondness towards the childhood robot there’s an increasing sense of embarrassment.

When Alberte’s (Selma Iljazovski) tech-obsessed parents (Lise Baastrup, Kristian Ibler) – almost always in some form of VR space – give in and buy her a yet-to-be-released new model things begin to turn around for her. Konrad (Philip Elbech Andresen) has many abilities which it seems no other robot at school has. He makes Alberte instantly more popular, however perhaps not everything is as it seems. Thus the film begins to travel down some slightly predictable and conventional lines. However, it’s clear stylings and target audience might just give it something of a slight pass.

Although, the bigger pass might be down to the silliness within the film. So many situations are heightened and exaggerated simply for a laugh, with a handful of decent chuckles scattered throughout the film. Sometimes it may not always be with the piece, or only half with it, but there’s still an undeniable entertainment factor present. Much of which comes from the clumsiness and general existence of Robbi. The character who most sums up the tones of the film, reaching the to the younger audience and most demonstrating the ways in which the film clearly doesn’t take itself too seriously.

My Robot Brother may be highly conventional and targeted more towards a younger audience, however there’s enough chuckles within it to help move things along and make for a likable enough piece of work for the time it’s on. Yes, like scene-stealer Robbi things may be a bit clumpy and overdone, but there’s also amusement to be found within this. Things stay relatively engaging and watchable and by the end, particularly with an audience, there are a fair few giggles to be had thanks to the pure cartoonishness of a number of instances throughout. Just sit back, turn your mind off and have a good, slightly absurd chuckle.

My Robot Brother absolutely targets a younger audience, however there’s enough silliness within its conventional narrative to provide a good amount of giggles and amusement for the time it’s on.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

LFF 2022: Casa Susanna – Review

Release Date – TBC, Cert – N/A, Run-time – 1 hour 37 minutes, Director – Sébastien Lifshitz

The story of the Casa Susanna, a safe haven away from the rest of society in the late ’50s where people could go to express their gender identity and sexuality.

There’s something of a wistful nature to Casa Susanna’s reflection of the late-50s and early-60s. It comes across in the cinematography of present day scenes where figures who found safety within the small walls of the escape haven re-meet to reminisce and discuss the effect of the titular building. While now slightly washed of colour and surrounded by overgrown grass we see plenty of colour and vibrancy in the images of the past. It’s as if it’s still present for the aging figures we hear from throughout the film.

The Casa Susanna was a place in the Catskills where people were allowed to express themselves and explore their gender identity and sexuality with no judgement. Men would come for a weekend of safety away from the judgement of the outside. Whether gay, transgender or transvestite there was a clear openness and acceptance from all others in the small spaces. The joint effect, and indeed individual response to cross-dressing is referred at one point as an “almost out of body experience. It was so powerful”. We see and hear a number of personal stories with emotional tinges throughout, adding to the overall wistful feel. All helping to push a feeling of celebration and freedom which must have been present within the walls of the central building.

It’s as the film slightly drifts away to the outside world where things become slightly more familiar. Not so much in the responses to certain figures’ sexualities and identities but more the general perception of LGBT people in society at the time, particularly in the cities. It’s around this point where in general the film moves away from focusing on the Casa Susanna as a whole and more on the effects that it had. There’s still interest in such elements, particularly with the hints of celebration which are still present, however there is a feeling of something a step away from the initial focus – due to the bridge in-between – meaning that there’s perhaps not as much engagement as there was beforehand.

Therefore things begin to feel somewhat lengthy – even at only 97 minutes. While not by too much there is the feeling that things could be somewhat cut down, or even put into a short documentary about the freedom of expression provided, with some of the effects. However, for what is present here there’s enough to like and engage with, particularly when it comes to the way in which the film and its participants look back at what were for them the good old days. Yet good old days which continued and allowed them to progress – “it wasn’t that the urge was increasing, but that time was passing” is a key phrase about identity which especially strikes within the film’s themes and surroundings. It’s these elements which bring about the most interest and engagement and allow for the true effect of the Casa Susanna to come through just that bit more.

While it might feel slightly lengthy as it moves away from the titular haven itself Casa Susanna still has plenty of wistfulness to help move it along and engage the viewer in its story of identity celebration.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

LFF 2022: The Origin – Review

Release Date – TBC, Cert – N/A, Run-time – 1 hour 27 minutes, Director – Andrew Cumming

A prehistoric group of early humans find themselves attacked by an unknown force whilst searching unfamiliar terrain for a new homeland.

Amongst the details and visuals leaning into the horror genre perhaps the most effective thing within The Origin is the made-up language which forms the dialogue and conversations throughout the film. Yes, there may be subtitles, but because the language itself sounds so authentic instead of a series of random sounds and noises we buy into the world that bit more and engage with the small tribe of early humans which the film centres on. They’re trying to make their way to a new homeland, however their path crosses through dangerous territory seemingly dominated by an unseen threat which attacks from the mist which surrounds the area.

For the opening stages the film is restrained and stripped back before truly launching into any of the well-handled action sequences and horror elements, especially on the low budget with which this was made; making the most of the natural landscape of the Scottish Highlands. For that you have to admire the film. However, there are occasionally points where the style feels somewhat limiting. Perhaps during earlier instances where we’re witnessing the various discussions between members of the group as they discuss their future and authority. Yet, this admittedly eventually pays off in the second half when the idea of tribal relationships comes more into play. Creating interest as it’s developed more.

It’s also within this half where things turn into a more direct survival film. It’s within this genre where the majority of themes seem to lie and emerge through the development of the narrative. While it might occasionally mean a departure from some of what we have seen before – as they film makes it clear who the real protagonists are amongst the potential twists and turns of the plot – there’s still something watchable and engaging about this slightly new form and what it presents.

Perhaps the biggest drawback is the way in which the film slightly shifts and changes with its tones and elements. While there’s a general air and consistency you can occasionally feel the gears moving to try and get from one to the other. It largely comes through in the key developments and reveals which while helping to keep things moving do sometimes add to the more slow-burn nature of certain instances, again the more character-driven scenes of conversation. Yet, while you might be able to see some of the creases and feel things moving from point to point there’s still enough between those moments, and indeed within them, to allow for The Origin to work for its 87 minute run-time. Particularly when it manages to refine itself and find a more direct path forward.

While you might be able to feel some of the moving parts to link certain points The Origin provides enough interest within the situation the key characters find themselves in, with some good developments, that you’re generally kept in place throughout the run-time.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Tár – Review

Cert – 15, Run-time – 2 hours 38 minutes, Director – Todd Field

An internationally acclaimed conductor (Cate Blanchett) finds her reckless words and actions coming back all at once.

The groundwork for writer-director Todd Field’s Tár is done in the way the viewer is placed directly into the various extended scenarios which make up much of the opening stages of the film. Whether part of a classroom or coffee shop conversation the camera feels like a conscious witness to the various events which bring us into the world of endlessly acclaimed conductor Lydia Tár (Cate Blanchett). The film opens with an interview which starts with Tár’s never-ending awards and credentials being lifted off before the interview itself begins. From there we see a considered, confident and honest figure not without a scattering of modesty, or perhaps recognition of her own successes compared to other women in her industry.

Whilst teaching at Juilliard Lydia is preparing to travel to Berlin to conduct her interpretation of Mahler’s Symphony No.5. Quickly forgetting about an interaction with a pangender BIPOC student (Zethphan Smith-Gneist) over putting Bach’s music aside from his misogynistic lifestyle. The sequence is one of the longer extended scenes in the film, shot with a one-shot style we move around the room to see the interaction from various different angles, all naturally playing out in real time. It’s a fascinating sequence not just in terms of where it might go in the moment and for the rest of the film but also because of the performances. Blanchett leads with an excellently considered performance as her character’s past, and indeed, present actions gradually begin to build up to come back at her all at once.

When talking to the Berlin Orchestra and conducting them there’s an effusive energy from Blanchett who excellently captures the development and mindset of her character throughout the film, especially in the final half of the film. Matched by Field’s direction which subtly observes and interacts with the events of Tár’s life – especially sitting back waiting for things to kick off as she starts to converse and flirt with new orchestra member Olga (Sophie Kauer), who she intentionally chose to join for this reason. All in front of her wife, Sharon (Nina Hoss) who acts as assistant conductor. The various dramas all weave into each other allowing for a consistent flow to the film which further hooks your engagement and keeps you involved and interested for the 158 minute run-time.

While this might occasionally mean that some of the shorter scenes don’t quite have the same effect, there’s always a longer interaction or conversation around the corner with plenty of things being said and shown within the performances, all adding to the pile that will inevitably fall on the central character. One who you can’t help but engage with and wait to see what happens to her. You may not hate her, but you’re certainly meant to anticipate the eventual turnaround in her life and how she will try to combat it – although nothing will prepare you for a rather scary accordion number. And once that moment arrives the course the film takes is equally intriguing as you wait to see where it goes.

There’s no surprise that people have been asking if Lydia Tár is a real person thanks to the brilliant way in which Cate Blanchett plays her, and Todd Field treats her. Wonderfully developed and engaging in its extended sequences there’s a lot to like about the development of Tár’s investing narrative.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

M3gan – Review

Cert – 15, Run-time – 1 hour 42 minutes, Director – Gerard Johnstone

A robot (Jenna Davis/ Amie Donald) designed to be a friend to and protect a child (Violet McGraw) begins to show murderous tendencies towards anyone who comes close to harming her.

Going into M3gan knowing very little apart from the general concept I must admit to having been taken by surprise from the opening five seconds. After the studio logos we jump straight into a deeply accurate advert for a kids toy. However, one with a darkly comic edge as the laughs roll out to an intentionally irritatingly upbeat song about a dead pet being replaced by a new forever friend in the form of a new toy. The toy is created by Funki and can be linked with an app which can interact with the Purrpetual Pet.

However, while Funki leads the market their toy is being replicated by rival companies, at cheaper prices. Engineer Gemma (Allison Williams) is tasked with coming up with a cheaper version of the toy which can be released as soon as possible, however her time has been largely spent putting thousands of dollars into a life-like robot which can learn and develop to communicate with a child as if it were a real person. While initially dismissed by her frustrated boss (Ronny Chieng) the project is put forward for a major launch when M3gan (voiced by Jenna Davis and physically performed by Amie Donald) is shown to be the new best friend of Gemma’s niece Cady (Violet McGraw). “Imagine what M3gan can do for thousands of kids all around the world, even the ones who don’t have dead parents” Chieng’s David enthusiastically says in a promotional video.

When we first meet M3gan (standing for Moden 3 Generative Android) director Gerard Johnstone seems to understand that there’s something inherently creepy about robots. The way in which her mouth can’t make proper shapes and so simply moves unrhythmically up and down when she speaks is the first indication of this. Nonetheless she forms a bond with Cady, her primary user, and almost begins to play the role of guardian for her instead of Gemma, who takes her in when Cady’s parents pass away after a car crash at the start of the film. It also means that she herself isn’t overly monitoring M3gan, only properly noticing how much time is spent with the robot when things need to be altered during development.

One alteration that’s missed is perhaps just how much the robot is willing to protect her primary user. Over time in various slightly distant and clear stages we see her anger rise as murderous intentions are displayed towards anyone who may threaten to harm, or even shout at, Cady. As this happens we see M3gan go from eerie and creepy to a more standard horror villain, although certainly still an entertaining one. It follows the more conventional lines of the film of a robot-gone-wrong story which occasionally come in to slightly disturb the flow of certain moments. While this does form the majority of the piece, and works rather well as a whole, there is the occasional feeling of familiarity which settles in during particular scenes, especially as M3gan’s lack of control increases.

Yet, there’s still enough present throughout the film which works well enough and provides plenty of entertainment factor. There may not be as much humour as the opening stages may suggest but there are still a handful of chuckles scattered throughout. It helps to keep things moving and generally make for a more engaging and enjoyable film. Without it there would certainly be a still watchable and engaging piece of work, however it’s the humour which shows the film knows how to have fun with its ideas and concept, understanding to some extent that we’ve at least seen the broad outlines done in some places before. But, as a whole here there’s plenty to like and enjoy to make for a likable android horror for the time the film is on. One which will, and already seems to have, undoubtedly found its audience.

While it might show some conventional leanings as the titular robot loses some of its creepiness there’s still plenty within M3gan to gain a positive response, both from the restrained horror and the occasional comedy.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

All The Beauty And The Bloodshed – Review

Release Date – 27th January 2023, Cert – 18, Run-time – 2 hours 2 minutes, Director – Laura Poitras

Documentary looking at the life of photographer Nan Goldin through her own pictures, alongside her present day activism against pharmaceutical company Perdue and the Sackler family in relation to the opioid crisis.

“Photography was always a way to walk through fear… It gave me a reason to be there” says photographer Nan Goldin about her life and work. Both encapsulating progressive boundary-pushing attitudes, particularly in regards to her work focusing on the LGBTQ+ community. “Survival was an art” she later states in regards to the creation of a safe space being created for gay people when the streets of Boston became too dangerous. Her activism in the present day is just as passionate as director Laura Poitras follows Goldin and other members of PAIN (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) protest within prominent museums around the world against the money going into them from the Sackler family. The family who were behind the likes of pharmaceutical company Perdue during the opioid crisis, leading to the deaths of thousands.

In a number of ways there’s almost two different films here. One about Goldin’s life and the other about her current activism. The latter takes more of a standard documentary form while the former sees us taken through a number of Goldin’s slideshows and pictures from over the years, with narration provided by herself recounting her memories – a number of which are acknowledged to have not been much talked about. Both styles work well and indeed have plenty of interest, however occasionally the feeling that you’re watching what could be two different films comes into play, largely in the bridges between each section.

However, the film rarely drops and disengages. Even as its run-time begins to slightly show. It keeps your interest and engagement thanks to the unflinching way in which it treats its subject and the various points that crop up within her life. It’s this attitude which also allows things to keep moving and stay relatively consistent, particularly when it comes to the aforementioned bridges between chapters. There’s almost always some form of development to connect and engage with, particularly within Goldin’s life and the people she finds herself surrounded and pushed by – “I only escape because of my friends” she claims amongst a series of pictures she fondly reminisces over.

Through the work of Poitras and the editing team the cutting attitude of the film is emphasised by a stirring nature to the protest scenes, particularly emotional when you see the push and hear the stories behind the cause, and indeed fascination within strands relating to the likes of censorship – a particular element which moves along with great pace, helped by just how much is shown within it. It’s thanks to moments such a this, and the general force of the film as a whole which fully embraces the bold, boundary-pushing life of Goldin and a number of people who have been part of her life and career. While occasionally things may feel somewhat split both core strands and focuses continue to have strength with plenty to engage and interest.

While it may occasionally feel like its telling two stories, with two different styles, All The Beauty And The Bloodshed powers through with plenty of unflinching stories and details to engage and interest. Fully embracing the bold, boundary-pushing life of its central figure.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Mat Sheldon ‘The Electricity In Me’ Interview

Writer-director Mat Sheldon joins me to discuss his upcoming short film The Electricity In Me, available to watch online very soon. In the conversation we discuss the likes of cutting away during a to-camera monologue, the work of music on set and opening up a personal story to the cast and crew.

If you’d like to hear Mat’s song requests you can hear them by following the links below:
Let My Key Be C – Nils Frahm and Anne Müller
Love – Mica Levi