Zodiac (2007) Film Review

Note: this is a long film. So, don’t start it on a night when you want an early night, especially if you are likely to find that you need something light to take your mind off what you have experienced before you go to sleep.

So, there is a serial killer who is sending letters to the newspapers. (Based on reality, as it happens). This gets the journalists on the case, from crime reporter Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.) to cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal). Then of course there are the police, Inspector David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) and Inspector William Armstrong (Anthony Edwards). And the clues never quite match up to a solved case… or do they?

This is an excellent whodunit – kept me drawn in the whole time, and the idea that this was all based on reality freaked me out a bit. Thank goodness I’ve never lived a community actually threatened by this type of thing – and if I get anyone calling and deep breathing in that creepy way, well, I may never sleep again. Brrr.

Brokeback Mountain (2005) Film Review


It’s the early sixties. Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) are a couple of young men who take seasonable work around the place doing things like herding sheep up on Brokeback Mountain. These two are on the mountain alone for a long time and after a while, they fall in love. At the end of the season, they go their separate ways, each marrying and having children, but they meet every year or so to go on a “fishing trip”. And even when their situations have changed and they could be together, Ennis is aware of just how cruel people are at this time and how much danger they could be in.

It’s a beautiful and magnificent story with amazing cinematography. I felt that the chemistry between the two men was strained, but that was more because they were such closed off cowboys; when the passion took them, it was intense. Though Heath Ledger was such a mumbler, and I remember when I first saw the film, there was one line which seemed to be the most important that I could not decipher. Same things this time, but now I have the internet. So if anyone else needed to know – “I’m gonna tell you this one time, Jack fuckin’ Twist, an’ I ain’t foolin’. What I don’t know – all them things that I don’t know – could get you killed if I come to know them. I ain’t jokin’.” Don’t worry if that doesn’t make sense – go watch the film. Really do, it is beautiful, wonderful and painful.

Brokeback Mountain won Oscars for Best achievement in Directing (Ang Lee), Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay (Larry McMurty, Diana Ossana) and Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score, and was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Heath Ledger), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Jake Gyllenhaal), Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Michelle Williams) and Best Achievement in Cinematography.

Nightcrawler (2014) Film Review


Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a young man wandering through life trying to find a satisfying calling when he meets Joe Loder (Bill Paxton) and discovers ‘nightcrawling’ – that is, waiting by a police radio scanner for accidents, shootings or other crimes, getting to the scene and getting as graphic as possible footage to sell to news stations. Before too long, he has an assistant, Rick (Riz Ahmed) and a special relationship with news producer Nina Romina (Rene Russo). He has ambition that drives everything he does, and no interest in any moral questions that may be raised.

I think Louis Bloom could go down in history as one of the creepiest characters ever. Such a psychopath, with that stare and the intense way of speaking. I found this a really hard film to watch because he was so repulsive and it was pretty obvious that he was going to do some awful, awful things. I am really glad I didn’t see this in the cinema – I think it would have disturbed me a lot.

Nightcrawler was nominated for an Oscar for Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Dan Gilroy), a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama (Jake Gyllenhaal) and BAFTAs for Best Leading Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal), Best Supporting Actress (Rene Russo), Best Editing and Best Original Screenplay (Dan Gilroy).



Source Code (2011) – Film Review

The opening scene of Source Code is fantastic and confusing. Colter Stevens is on a train, though he doesn’t remember how he got there. As he tries to work out his confusion, he is suddenly thrust into a different reality; in some kind of crashed fighter plane or something. He discovers that the train has been bombed and he is somehow being enlisted to discover the bomber through an out-of-body psychic experience. The reality of the whole scenario is tricky to get your head around, but luckily Colter Stevens also struggles with it, so it gets explained several times without being condescending or obvious.

I loved about three-quarters of this film. The idea is magnificent, but then it became too sentimental for my liking. I couldn’t really empathise with the decisions that Stevens was making, and I felt that the film ended badly. It either needed to end twenty minutes earlier, or continue through for at least another half hour.