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  • The Unknown

    The Unknown

    ★★½

    The Unknown (1927) is a strange little nightmare of a film that has little by way of substance but manages to be quite disturbing nonetheless. Not wishing to spoil its brief contents I will not reveal much, only that, like his later Freaks (1932), Browning's film centres around jealousy in a circus. These two films (the only Browning I've seen) make me think of him as a bit of a proto-Cronenberg, as both represent an early type of body horror.…

  • Hardcore Henry

    Hardcore Henry

    ★★★★

    The obvious criticism of Hardcore Henry would be that it is a macho, homophobic, misogynistic video game fantasy with some of the most gratuitous violence ever perpetrated on an audience—not to mention a pretty poor sense of humour. But that would ignore its many virtues. On a visual level, it's at least as impressive in its cinematography as Russian Ark (2002), with its uncut, relentless first-person GoPro perspective. Like The Raid (2011) or Dredd (2012) the action sequences can be…

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  • Dancer in the Dark

    Dancer in the Dark

    ★★★★½

    I delayed in seeing this for a long time because I found The Idiots so unpalatable and so unrewarding, though I've enjoyed most of the other von Trier films I've seen. My primary thought whilst watching this is that it succeeds in doing much of what French film in the 50s and 60s failed to do; it's a European view of America via Hollywood crime films and musicals, but the difference from Godard and Demy is that this film actually…

  • Crisis

    Crisis

    ★★★★

    Although it would be difficult for this film or any film to compare to the masterpieces of Bergman's later career, Crisis remains a staggering directorial debut, showcasing many of the concerns, themes, and strengths of his later work.

    One one level it is a contrast between invidious city and innocent countryside, and therefore might superficially be compared to Sunrise. In his first film, however, Bergman has already far surpassed any such shallow morality play, diving straight into the depths of…