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  • Election

    Election

    Forget Heathers – if you want a caustic, misanthropic teen comedy, look no further than Alexander Payne's sophomore effort. Mathew Broderick plays a deluded high school teacher whose life gradually unravels as a result of his own bad decisions, which overlap with those of an ambitious student, played by Reese Witherspoon. Broderick's resentment stems not only from Witherspoon's focus and drive, but from the way a former colleague acted on impulse in seducing her, losing his job in the process.

  • Under the Shadow

    Under the Shadow

    This Iranian horror film treads familiar ground for the genre, but is still an effective and frightening effort. Set during the Iran-Iraq war, it sees mother Shideh - barred from medical school because of her opposition to the Cultural Revolution - struggle with her marriage, and the fact that her daughter claims to have seen a 'Djinn', a mythical ghost-like creature. Anyone who has seen The Babadook will know what tone to expect. At 84 minutes, a refreshing example of economical storytelling.

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  • Son of Saul

    Son of Saul

    Shot in tight close-ups using shallow focus, with traditional widescreen aspect ratio sliced down to a much more compact 4:3, Son of Saul is unsparing of the horrors of Auschwitz without indulging in salacious detail. Glimpses of the recently murdered are always at the corners of frames, the minutiae of concentration camp life – the disposal of ashes, the scrubbing of floors – rendered unremarkable. Among the few Holocaust films to deal not only with the ordeal of the Jews, but with their faith.

  • O.J.: Made in America

    O.J.: Made in America

    Had O.J.: Made in America been a two-hour documentary, it might well have stood as one of the best films of 2016. At almost four times that length, director Ezra Edelman has created an exhaustive – and exhausting – work that is, frankly, indispensable. Edelman delves into Simpson's unprecedented story – a black athlete distancing himself from the rhetoric of solidarity espoused by the likes of Muhammad Ali, only to exploit the very real grievances of poor black America in order to evade justice.