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  • Killer's Kiss

    Killer's Kiss

    ★★★★

    Stanley Kubrick’s second film, Killer’s Kiss, was an ethereal combination of noir and neorealism, like so many of the second-wave American noirs of the 1950s, which typically discarded the convoluted plots of their 1940s forebears for more abstract, anguished mood pieces and tone poems. Kubrick’s take on that formula is built on a screeplay by Howard Sackler, which focuses on the relationship between Davey Gordon, a welterweight boxer played by Jamie Smith, his lover Gloria Price, played by Irene Kane,…

  • The French Connection

    The French Connection

    ★★★★½

    By the time he arrived at The French Connection, William Friedkin had already mastered cinematic naturalism – a considerable achievement, given that his previous three films were all theatrical adaptations of one kind or another. With The French Connection, he took that naturalism and applied it to the streets of New York and Marseilles, creating a film that is almost entirely shot outdoors and on location, while also forming a cinematic vocabulary that exceeds naturalism in the process, paving the…

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  • The Wolf of Wall Street

    The Wolf of Wall Street

    The Wolf of Wall Street is based on the bestselling memoir by Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), which describes how he became one of the richest people in America through sustained security fraud. One of Belfort’s most prominent strategies was to sell worthless stocks to inexperienced customers – in effect, to sell nothing to nobodies – meaning that it was a career that subsisted less on providing goods than in raising the process of circulation itself to a fever pitch. As…

  • Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler

    A kind of spiritual sequel to End of Watch, Dan Gilroy’s debut feature stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Louis Bloom, a petty criminal who turns his hand to freelance accident and crime scene photography to satisfy his yearnings to become a member of the professional class. Despite being set in Los Angeles, it’s clearly modelled on Michael Mann’s Thief – there’s the same procedural coldness, the same aversion to natural light, the same gravitation towards lurid, tungsten hues and, above all,…