Chris has written 20 reviews for films rated ★★★ .

  • Piercing

    Piercing

    ★★★

    Thought I'd give another Ryu Murakami adaptation a go and this was just as bizarre as expected. I mean when the starting premise is a man fantasising about stabbing his own child then you should assume more disturbing situations are forthcoming.

    There is an effective contrast of tones here though as a sly playfulness lingers below the emotionless exterior which gives the material a distinct flavour, forming a twisted role-play infused with Giallo inspired thrills and pitch-black comedy. Both Christopher…

  • Beast

    Beast

    ★★★

    Beast is an appropriate title given how this quietly sinister effort explores the animalistic aspects of human nature that we try to suppress, the malicious side of small communities seeking to maintain a twisted order and the feeling of being hunted in your own neighbourhood as the central mystery brings to mind the real-life Beast of Jersey.

    Although this type of story about an emotionally damaged person becoming entranced by an enigmatic outsider with a shady past is nothing unfamiliar,…

  • Sorry to Bother You

    Sorry to Bother You

    ★★★

    Idiosyncratic to put it mildly, seemingly existing in a heightened reality where it pushes its satirical concepts into wildly bizarre territory. I strongly agree with a lot of what this has to say about the disease that is late-stage capitalism, particularly how it is deliberately designed to turn workers into wage slaves as they either do exactly what the company says or risk losing everything and how the fundamental structure of the system makes it virtually impossible to combat unless…

  • Happy-Go-Lucky

    Happy-Go-Lucky

    ★★★

    Certainly lives up to its title by being a predominantly lively and cheerful affair, fundamentally a character study following ebullient primary school teacher Poppy as she approaches every situation with unbridled optimism. It's like Mike Leigh essentially decided to make a direct contrast to Naked using a similar framework, the main difference being that we're seeing things through the eyes of someone vivaciously empathetic instead of intensely hostile. We subsequently see what happens when someone views kindness and compassion as…

  • Vera Drake

    Vera Drake

    ★★★

    The first half of Vera Drake offers us an interesting look at the steadily rhythmic daily routines of the titular character, a deeply empathetic house cleaner moonlighting as a back alley abortionist unbeknown to those closest to her. It's quite shocking to see such a seemingly kind and gentle person involved with carrying out what was a serious crime in 1950s London, but it's an astute decision from Mike Leigh as it provides us a sympathetic viewpoint to convey the…

  • Beau Travail

    Beau Travail

    ★★★

    Quite captivating as a pure mood piece, but constrained by the vague narrative and character choices that leave it nearly impenetrable on an emotional level. Beau Travail seems to be in dispute with itself over what it is trying to be, so it's little surprise that my thoughts about it are similarly conflicted.

    The story of a commanding officer's distorted jealousy towards one of his troop explores despotism, repression and foreignness through the lenses of colonialism, military power structures and…

  • Confessions

    Confessions

    ★★★

    If you've ever wanted to see a revenge thriller that is shot and edited like a late-2000s metalcore music video then this is the film for you.

    Confessions starts out very strong. The entire first act, which takes the form of a prolonged monologue, is so impressively constructed and delivered with such intense visual verve that I thought we could be heading into superlative territory. Unfortunately, my fears that it was too front-loaded were confirmed by what followed. The twist-laden…

  • Hiroshima Mon Amour

    Hiroshima Mon Amour

    ★★★

    I really like the central concept here, drawing a hazy contrast between a fleeting relationship and the aftermath of the horrific bombing of Hiroshima as a way to explore how we're forever unable to escape the destructive events of the past because they continue to haunt the present. Lingering despair causing cycles of heartache, memories to distort and commitment to cease; most effectively demonstrated with the striking opening monologue interlaced with images of devastation and Emmanuelle Riva's poignant performance. Sadly,…

  • King Kong

    King Kong

    ★★★

    On one hand, it is quite refreshing to look back on a big-budget film that is so clearly someone's idiosyncratic vision and full of passionate filmmaking, espeically in the current climate of blockbusters made by committee. On the other hand, I'm still bewildered that this feels like the longest film ever made when it's barely 3 hours long. I honestly feel like I had a birthday while watching this thing. It's obvious that Peter Jackson was given carte blanche on…

  • The Host

    The Host

    ★★★

    What starts as a clever take on the monster movie formula quickly reveals itself to be an offbeat family drama at its core before genre hopping ensues as we get elements of farcical comedy, satire, action thriller and political commentary littered throughout (there's even stuff on virus control, which cuts sharply in current times). Bong Joon-ho is usually great at this type of thing, but I think he tried to juggle a bit too much this time around as the…

  • Get Out

    Get Out

    ★★★

    This walks the fine line between horror and comedy relatively well for the most part, especially considering it was Jordan Peele's directorial debut, but I don't think anything about it truly stands out enough to leave a considerable impact. Peele's depiction of subtle racism, exploitation and distorted wokeness isn't particularly nuanced but it is effective at building a sense of unease that permeates the first two acts; he even manages to manipulate genre tropes smartly as seen with the creative…

  • Before Midnight

    Before Midnight

    ★★★

    The third installment in the Before trilogy finds Jesse and Celine still together 9 years further on from the previous entry; they're holidaying in Greece and dealing with the general malaise that seems to set in with most relationships once the couple reaches midlife. The dreamy optimism has transformed into brittle reality as what was once two individuals discovering a special connection is now a family unit attempting to navigate the difficult phases of life.

    Although this is a solid…