In Time (2011) Film Review *Spoiler Alerts*

In a world where there is a limited amount of resources, a built-in computer chip allows people to age up to 25 and then they have a year on their clock. They gain time by working, bartering, stealing, fighting… and pay time for goods and services. A pretty decent system. Of course, it’s not fair. In the ghetto time zones, people like Will (Justin Timberlake) can barely keep enough time on the clock to stay ahead, and in the wealthy time zones they have years, decades, centuries.

So, there’s a guy with over a century on his clock, and he’s had enough, so he heads to the ghetto to let himself be robbed and killed. (There’s pretty much my first issue – there are so many ways to give time away, why let the criminals get it?) Will steps in and saves this guy, so he explains to him how the rich live, gives will his time and drops off a bridge. Will is going to even the score, so he heads to the rich zone where he… goes to a casino? How is that going to give him justice? He plays cards against a very wealthy man, Weis (Vincent Kartheiser) who introduces Will to his beautiful daughter, Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried) and invites his to a party the following night. When Will arrives at the party, Weis introduces Will to Sylvia by saying “I believe you two have met” (either a bad case of script editing or a change in script that wasn’t corrected, or just… bad writing). When the time police, lead by Leon (Cillian Murphy), turn up, Will kidnaps Sylvia and then quickly she falls for him and they start robbing banks and… then play strip poker when they know they are being chased? What? It makes no sense.

I was so disappointed. A pretty decent cast, but a terrible script, and so many major and minor flaws. Plus, the end just made no real sense. Oh, and if you’re a POC, please don’t expect to see any representation – no wait. A time cop who, despite apparently being second in charge, doesn’t know much. Also, if you are rich, you are horrible. If you are poor, you may have a flaw like alcoholism, but you’re going to have a heart of gold. Ugh, I just wanted it to be better.

Batman Begins (2005) Film Review

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Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is travelling the world, attempting to find way to get past the murder of his parents that he witnessed as a small child. After training in some mountains with a mysterious group, he eschews their offer to join them and returns to Gotham, to his butler, Alfred (Michael Caine) in the hope of improving the lives of the residents. But there is a bad guy, the Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy) who is causing problems. Bruce meets Fox (Morgan Freeman) who is in research and development, and Batman Begins.

Having used The Dark Night as a teaching text, I tend to be overly focused on that film over either this or the final in the trilogy. Watching this again reminds me of just how good it is – characters are set up, a strong story is told and it is left on the edge of the next film. Wonderful.

Batman Begins was nominated for an Oscar for Best Achievement in Cinematography.

 

 

The Dark Knight (2008) Film Review

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Batman (Christian Bale) has done heaps to make Gotham a better place, and wants a quiet life with his love interest, Rachel (Maggie Gyllenhaal). Two things stand in his way; he needs a good man to be a public face of good in Gotham, and Rachel is seeing another man. Both of these problems are directly related to Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). Then along comes the Joker (Heath Ledger), appearing to “watch the world burn”, bringing his own chaos to Gotham.

I’ve made it no secret that I love a good superhero film, I love the excitement and chaos of a good chase, some explosions and fighting. The Dark Knight is the next step up – dark, sinister, with some truly horrible stuff happening. Clever, and no matter how many times I watch it, I have to look away when the Joker has the pencil. The opening bank raid is one of my favourite film opening sequences, not least because I get a moment of William Fechtner, and that’s always a good thing.

The Dark Knight won Oscars for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Heath Ledger) and Best Achievement in Sound Editing and was nominated for Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Art Direction, Best Achievement in Make Up, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing and Best Achievement in Visual Effects.

 

The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006) Film Review

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Ireland is overrun by English soldiers that treat the Irish with disdain and violence.  It’s 1920, and a young doctor, Damien (Cillian Murphy), is about to leave to work in a London Hospital, much to the disgust of many young republicans including his own brother. At the last-minute he changes his mind, and joins the rebellious IRA fighting the English. However, their differing attitudes put the brothers against each other.

Deeply traumatic, extremely depressing. I never understood quite why the English took over Ireland. Something to do with anti-Catholicism, I believe, and that Cromwell was a key player hundreds of years ago. I certainly don’t understand, whether it be Ireland or anywhere else, how people can treat each other so cruelly. I found this a very difficult film to watch. These are the stories that need to be told in the hope that such situations are not repeated. Yet I look at the world. There are many horrible things happening all over. Oh, dear. It seems this film has really brought me down.

Inception (2010) Film Review

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It’s the future. Highly trained people can infiltrate your dreams and steal secrets. Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) has been doing this for years, and his own mental stability is questionable. He had a wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard) who passed away, but her image is now sneaking into the scenarios and sabotaging his work. He and his business partner Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) are hired by Saito(Ken Watanabe) to go one step further. They are to penetrate the dreams of businessman Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy) and plant an idea – the concept known as inception. They gather together a team consisting of Cobb, Arthur, chemist Yusuf (Dileep Rao), forger Eames (Tom Hardy) and architect Ariadne (Ellen Page) and take the challenge.

I loved this film so much. It’s got heaps of running, fighting, shooting and explosions that I love in an action film, but then there is plot. Heaps of plot. Confusing and challenging, but ultimately there was a cool logic that made sense – provided you buy into the world of the film. Which I totally did. What’s more, it’s a film with an ambiguous end. I love an ambiguous end. Thanks, Christopher Nolan.

Inception won Oscars for Best Achievement in Cinematography (Wally Pfister) Best Achievement in Sound Mixing (Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo and Ed Novick), Best Achievement in Sound Editing (Richard King)and Best Achievement in Visual Effects (Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley, Pete Bebb and Paul J. Franklin) and was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Writing Original Screenplay, Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures Original Score and Best Achievement in Art Direction.

Broken (2012) MIFF Film Review

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Bloody hell, this film nearly killed me. It is amazing, absolutely amazing, but awful, absolutely awful. Why do only bad things happen? Why indeed?

Skunk is eleven and lives in North London with her father, brother and au pair. Things are pretty good. She’s on school holidays and spends her days hanging out and being a kid. Then really bad stuff starts happening all over the place. I can’t recount it, as I think I am too traumatised. But it was stunning.

The performances are fabulous on all counts, from Tim Roth and Cellian Murphy right down to the kooky twins on the scooters. Eloise Laurence is absolutely amazing as Skunk, and I cannot wait to see what she does in the future.

If you don’t mind being mentally bashed by a film, I’d highly recommend Broken. Apart from all of the awful things, it is gorgeous and funny and really sweet.