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  • Hacksaw Ridge

    Hacksaw Ridge

    ★★★½

    65/100

    "Most of these men don't believe the same way you do, but they believe so much in how much you believe."

    Perhaps the most fundamental flaw with Hacksaw Ridge, Mel Gibson’s first film following his ten-year hiatus, is its inconsistency. It wildly vacillates between a blisteringly, horrifyingly authentic war epic and a hackneyed melodrama, often trite and invariably, mawkishly sentimental. That’s a great shame, because when Hacksaw Ridge flies, it soars: the dreadfully majestic battle sequences depicting Doss’ heroics…

  • Shotgun Stories

    Shotgun Stories

    ★★★½

    61/100

    "We don't own the square root of shit."

    Jeff Nichols’ strong debut takes a tired, familiar plot—familial hostility propelled by notions of vengeance and retribution—and imbues it with just enough energy and dynamism to escape its narrative trappings. Shotgun Stories is kept aloft by its distinctive tone, visual modesty and a praiseworthy host of naturalistic performances—particularly that of Michael Shannon, in a typically understated, relentlessly committed and expertly calibrated portrayal of the grudging, laconic Son.

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  • American Honey

    American Honey

    ★★★★★

    96/100

    "Do you have any dreams?"

    Andrea Arnold’s paean to the American road trip movie is majestic, unvarnished, naturalistic, whimsical. The direction is vivid and evocative, the cinematography ranking among the most dazzling I have ever seen. Once you allow American Honey to reel you in, you’ll never want to return to the real world. Arnold’s encapsulation of the American landscape is hypnotic; Lane’s performance (not that it even feels like a performance) is bewitching. It’s a sprawling, momentary, aimless, visionary slice of middle-Americana; a transcendent work of genius, incomparable and magnificent.

  • Silence

    Silence

    ★★★★½

    89/100

    "I pray but I am lost. Am I just praying to silence?"

    The culmination of a long and tumultuous 28-year journey to adapt Shusaku Endo's novel for the screen, Silence is Scorsese at his most contemplative and emotionally expressive. The serenity with which he brings to life Garfield and Driver’s arduous test of faith is astounding. Earnest and exultant, the film is a triumph of religious and artistic passion; this theological epic manages to be both entirely confident and profoundly uncertain. The epilogue is a transcendent work of art, with a final—perfect—shot for the ages.

    (ODEON Metrocentre, Gateshead, 4:30 PM)