Chris has written 29 reviews for films rated ★★★★½ .

  • Morvern Callar

    Morvern Callar

    ★★★★½

    Lynne Ramsay has a remarkable talent when it comes to pairing visuals with sound to vividly capture the damaged mindsets of her main character's and how they perceive the world around them. Morvern Callar is infused with moments where the evocative music choices wash over the striking compositions in a way that creates a hypontic, dreamlike atmosphere which manages to express more about internal emotions than words ever could.

    This lyrical, minimalist approach impeccably suits the unconventional exploration of the…

  • Safe

    Safe

    ★★★★½

    There's something almost Lynchian in how Safe portrays the pervasive sense of discomfort and paranoia that engulfs housewife Carol White's existence in 1987 California as she falls prey to an apparent phantom illness. Her perpetually renovated home in artificial suburbia and her desperate attempts to convey a personality that appears socially acceptable are unable to conceal the utter hollowness of her day-to-day life; it's a dark truth which sees her spiral into finding a new place where she can belong,…

  • The Florida Project

    The Florida Project

    ★★★★½

    Childhood imagination and innocence superbly juxtaposed with the harsh realities faced on a daily basis when trying to survive the cyclic nature of poverty. Sean Baker uses the dilapidated environments to vividly capture how a child can often find wonder in bleak places without failing to convey the true darkness that they symbolise. The barren fields, abandoned houses and gaudy purple motel all become settings for endless adventure through the eyes of 6-year-old Moonee but they're emblematic of how those…

  • Like Someone in Love

    Like Someone in Love

    ★★★★½

    It feels somewhat fitting that Like Someone in Love was the final film released by Abbas Kiarostami during his lifetime. The gradual, wistful manner in which it unfolds practically forces the mind to wander in contemplation in a way that makes its subject matter resonate deeply. There's a pensive haziness that engulfs every frame which is both elusive and captivating, making the viewing experience akin to being put into a trance.

    The narrative sees Kiarostami returning once again to the…

  • Taste of Cherry

    Taste of Cherry

    ★★★★½

    Abbas Kiarostami does something quite remarkable with Taste of Cherry by looking at the all-encompassing nature of suicidal thoughts in a way that feels completely genuine. Not for one second is he guilty of being overly sentimental, ostentatious or preachy because he clearly understands that such thoughts aren't usually displayed in a conspicuous manner. It's such a pure view since feelings of hopelessness often infect a person's life through gradual, undetectable means before overwhelming them entirely. This film strikingly captures…

  • Perfect Blue

    Perfect Blue

    ★★★★½

    Satoshi Kon's distinctive talent at blurring the lines between reality and fantasy was maybe never better demonstrated than with this deeply unsettling psychological thriller. It follows Mima, a former pop singer turned actress whose shifting public persona and perception causes her sense of identity to become increasingly unstable. A range of chilling concepts such as the price of fame, celebrity obsession, cyberstalking, objectification, disempowerment and the dangers of letting an idealised image take over your true personality are all explored…

  • Crash

    Crash

    ★★★★½

    There's something extremely hypnotic in the way Cronenberg presents this that sets in right from the eerie opening credits and doesn't cease until the sudden cut to black following the final scene. It's almost impossible to look away despite the disturbing imagery and unsettling propositions, perhaps deliberately and cleverly echoing how we're always fascinated by things that should leave us troubled (car crashes themselves being one of those things). The influx of technology into our lives and our constant obsession…

  • Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler

    ★★★★½

    An extremely potent critique of the poisonous right-wing pull yourself up by your bootstraps, take control of your life, wallop you over the head with meaningless motivational jargon ideologies; deftly exposing them for the utter drivel they really are. It similarly takes aim at the media, how those running the show are always searching for something bigger and crazier; they're basically creating their own narratives that are only tangentially related to reality. It all generates an environment where only those…

  • Naked

    Naked

    ★★★★½

    Mike Leigh's Naked follows the intelligent, caustic and wholly depraved Johnny on what is effectively an odyssey of desolation through a society that has been devastated by Thatcherism. He is the dark poet that captures the discontent, cynicism and existentialism born out of an era of decay; traversing the dank streets of London and unleashing fascinatingly intricate rants on a vast array of topics, from modern living to evolution to the apocalypse. Leigh uses his journey to explore themes of…

  • In the Mood for Love

    In the Mood for Love

    ★★★★½

    What a spellbinding rumination on loneliness, heartache, romantic yearning and love forever unexpressed. A depiction of two people who aren't drawn together through sudden adoration, but through a like-minded frustration of being incapable of finding the type of love that they so clearly desire. Intimate in their shared struggle to comprehend the betrayal of those they thought so dearly of, building a connection by recreating how they believe their partners did but never acting upon the same impulses. Even as…

  • Public Enemies

    Public Enemies

    ★★★★½

    It's truly fascinating how massive in scope Public Enemies is. Michael Mann uses his narrative motif of the blurred line between driven cops and audacious robbers to ground proceedings, but beyond that he paints a vivid picture of a country that finds itself rapidly transforming as it enters a new era. Centering around the infamous gangster John Dillinger, it uses his exploits to explore a myriad of topics that would shape future events; the death of the Western outlaw, the…

  • Lost Highway

    Lost Highway

    ★★★★½

    A fragmented, nightmarish journey through one man's dissociation in the abstract, surreal manner that is unmistakably David Lynch. One that explores the subconscious, self-identity, voyeurism, jealousy, desire and the dark underside of Americana; an oppressive psychological horror that deftly twists into an offbeat noir, always running on that distinctive brand of dream logic. Although it does at points feel like a test run for certain ideas that would be fully realised in his works that followed, this is a fascinating…