Short Film Reviews

September 12, 2009

Last weekend I rented a few DVDs and caught up on a few films I’d missed at the cinema.

In Bruges

In short, this is about two hitmen who’ve been sent to Brussels to hide out until the heat from their last job dies down.  I can’t really say much more without spoiling it – and I don’t want to spoil it for you because you should definetly see this.

Basically it’s a black farce and anyone who loves black humour will be well catered for here.  It’s fantastically written, directed and acted.  I cannot recommend this enough.

Superbad

So this is what the new hotness of Hollywood is making is it?  This has been praised to the roof by many critics and, uh, good for them.  It’s in no way a bad film and it is pretty funny in places.  I can’t help but feel that Superbad has been given an easy ride by critics – it isn’t that funny and reports of this movie having “heart” are greatly exaggerated.  The most surprising thing to me was that the pacing is weirdly sluggish and they could have easily shaved twenty minutes off the running time without losing anything valuable.  People will look back on this film in five years and wonder what all the fuss was about.

Bronson

This is a biopic about Charles Bronson – not the one who dug tunnels in The Great Escape, the one who did thirty years of solitary in Britain’s prison system.  In Britain Bronson is a legendary prisoner, but one who is more famous for being a prisoner than a criminal.

I didn’t have many expectations of this movie but was very pleasantly surprised.  It has minor problems that seem to largely stem from having a tiny budget but it’d be churlish to dwell on these.  What we get here is a surprisingly funny film about a man’s life that has turned into black comedy through his own madness and stubbornness.  The director gives the film a strong and distinctive look and Tom Hardy does the rest.

Look out for Tom Hardy.  This guy could easily be a very big star.  He’s already making a reputation for himself, playing damaged but charismatic men and he’s absolutely terrific here.

Oh and the movie contains this immortal line: “You pissed on a gipsy in the middle of fucking nowhere!”

Brick

Brick is a fairly simple idea: it’s a detective drama moved into the environment of a high school.  The detective, the femme fatale, all the other classic elements are high school kids.  If Bugsy Malone was little kids playing gangsters, this is teenage kids playing Chinatown.  And weirdly it’s played straight – although humour does arise where the two worlds clash.

The film is so committed to it’s premise that the end result is totally cold and artificial.  It’s as if the film maker believes the central idea is so powerful it’s enough to make the movie compelling.  It really isn’t.

If all the main characters had been fed into a wood chipper half way through the film, no one would miss them, least of all the audience.  When that’s the case your film has a major problem.

Other that it looks lovely, it’s very nicely put together and I’m sure many of the cast will go on to be big stars.  If only it was more engaging….

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