Chris has written 36 reviews for films rated ★★★★½ .

  • Kikujiro

    Kikujiro

    ★★★★½

    Profoundly heartwarming and consistently funny without ever shying away from the deep sadness which permeates the lives of those who feel like they can't find a place to belong in society, this is Takeshi Kitano striking a wonderful balance between his playful and melancholy tendencies. It focuses on a quiet young boy taken across the country to find his mother by the exceedingly truculent titular character as we witness the madcap antics they engage in and the eccentric people they…

  • Kids Return

    Kids Return

    ★★★★½

    Takeshi Kitano has an exceptional skill for underlining the wistful emotions that often lie behind dynamic pursuits, something which is used to superb effect in this charting of the tough transition into adulthood that befalls two rudderless teenage friends as one takes up boxing and the other joins the local yakuza. It's such a compassionate depiction of the difficulties people face when trying to break free from the limitations placed upon them by society, vividly capturing our susceptibility to external…

  • Tokyo Sonata

    Tokyo Sonata

    ★★★★½

    There's such profound sadness enveloping this domestic drama about a family unit that begins to unravel once its patriarch loses his job, their struggles a microcosm of a wider societal crisis. It's heartbreaking to witness this household trying desperately to keep the illusion of normality going as their comparable pain tears them apart, the way they are regarded by those outside their orbit mattering more to them than their own feelings which are left to deteriorate. Each member is damaged…

  • Angel Dust

    Angel Dust

    ★★★★½

    Thoroughly unsettling. An oppressive procedural infected by psychological horror that plays out like a disorientating nightmare; one that probes urban alienation, societal violence, self-identity, emotional manipulation and the contagious nature of evil in such an enigmatic manner that it becomes transfixing. It almost feels like a precursor to Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Cure given the subject matter and hypnotic approach, with a dash of David Lynch and The Silence of the Lambs thrown in for good measure.

    What's increasingly clear is that…

  • Love & Pop

    Love & Pop

    ★★★★½

    It's not too often that a film can simultaneously amaze you with its genuinely experimental stylistic choices and move you with its emotionally powerful insights like Love & Pop can, the live-action directorial debut of Hideaki Anno (best known for creating Neon Genesis Evangelion). It follows schoolgirl Hiromi who, along with her three friends, has drifted into the sordid practice of 'compensated dating' where men pay young girls for dates; in such a world, superficial courtesy is used to mask how…

  • August in the Water

    August in the Water

    ★★★★½

    How do you go about trying to describe a film as hypnotically lyrical as this? It's like a lucid dream experienced in cinematic form; one where you're gradually floating down a river towards some phenomenon that is too monumental to even comprehend as fragments of teenage melodrama, sci-fi rumination and environmental horror all mysteriously swirl around each other. It touches upon numerous significant topics like ecological anxiety, disease, the impact of technology, eternal love, spiritual transcendence and our place as…

  • Do the Right Thing

    Do the Right Thing

    ★★★★½

    It shouldn't be too surprising that Do the Right Thing still feels as relevant and potent as ever, or that it inevitably always will so long as our political and social structures intentionally keep these very same conflicts embedded within society. It approaches pervasive racism with a heartfelt vehemence and a righteous anger that permeates every frame, forcefully conveying the frustrations and disillusionment that befall these various characters who feel that the way they are perceived has robbed them of…

  • 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…