Tuesday 18 October 2011

LFF 2011 Reviewdump #1:
The Machine That Kills Bad People / Oslo, August 31st / Nobody Else But You / Let The Bullets Fly

Right then, here we go. I'll be figuratively squatting on your internet and metaphorically curling out a series of "reviews" of films from this year's London Film Festival over the next week and a bit, so that you can then respond with one or more of the following:
  • "Great! I'll buy a ticket now!"
  • "Great! Now I know not to buy a ticket!"
  • "Great! I've already bought a ticket and am now super excited!"
  • "Balls! I've bought a ticket and now I want my money back!"
  • "I don't care about the London Film Festival! Leave me alone!"
So without further ado, here are two to consider, one to avoid and one you've already missed. Enjoy! Or don't, I don't care.

The Machine That Kills Bad People
As good as it was when I saw it earlier this year in Bologna, not that it matters because the last screening was on Sunday. Sorry.

Oslo, August 31st
A complex and meditative (i.e. catatonically slow) portrayal of a drug addict trying to find his place in the world, reconnect with family and friends and deal with crippling self-loathing, Oslo, August 31st is fairly gruelling stuff. Still, this is the London Film Festival and therefore European orgies of bleakness are the order of the day. This one makes for a fairly interesting character study but I'm hard-pressed to remember much about it a week after viewing, except that there's a man in it who looks a lot like Noel Edmonds. I bet they don't mention that in Sight & Sound. Wed 19, Thu 20

Nobody Else But You
This French comedy drama, about an author investigating the death of a girl who believed she was the reincarnation of Marilyn Monroe, looks lovely but doesn't get nearly interesting enough for anyone to care who did her in, or indeed why anyone in the story should care either. In fact the only thing it really made me want to do was watch Some Like It Hot again.

Destined to be labelled "Coenesque" (it's got some weird characters and some scenes in the snow) and, God help us, "Lynchian" (someone's trying to find out who killed a pretty young girl), Nobody Else But You is definitely influenced by both but ultimately nowhere near as satisfying as either. It's occasionally funny, well-acted all round and has a great soundtrack, but the pedestrian execution of its unoriginal and uninvolving plot means it finds a home in that sadly overcrowded box of film festival films marked "three stars". Thu 20

Let The Bullets Fly
The opening train hijack sequence - in which bandits flip a locomotive in the air head-over-heels (not that trains have heads or heels but you get the idea) - is inspired, but is an all-too-obvious metaphor for the train wreck that follows. Supposedly a battle of wits between a bandit and a mobster (a tragically wasted Chow Yun-Fat) in 1920s China, Let The Bullets Fly becomes more a battle between confusing plotting, messy direction and the audience's patience. The audience loses. Wed 19, Thu 20

Join me again soon for Reviewdump #2! And cross your fingers that it gets better.

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