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  • 12 Years a Slave

    12 Years a Slave

    ★★★★★

    There is an ongoing revival in American cinema of the historical narrative; of old wounds reopened and left to fester before contemporary, more critically aware audiences. America has recounted its history before, with the classic directors of yore as a mouthpiece, but today’s historical films serve as interrogations rather than elaborate reconstructions. Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, an outstanding adaptation of Solomon Northup’s 1853 autobiography of the same name, turns its eye on the devastating human cost of the…

  • Filth

    Filth

    ★★★

    It seems that every year the UK cinema establishment vomits up another dirtily shot tits-and-drugs exploitation flick which purports to expose the increasingly seedy underculture of its urban working class. It arguably began with Trainspotting, Danny Boyle’s adaptation of the Irvine Welsh novel, a movie which served as a welcome change from the stuffy period dramas and lilting romantic comedies of the era; a suckerpunch to the jaw compared to Four Weddings and a Funeral. We’re pulled back into the…

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  • Killer Joe

    Killer Joe

    ★★★½

    I'm still sitting here and contemplating whether or not I liked Killer Joe. I don't think I'm completely sold on it, but the strong performances, sharp-as-nails script and gorgeous cinematography are winning me over.

    This is contemporary Southern Gothic at its dankest, with a heavy dose of neo-noir and black comedy to break the tension. It's bleak and confronting, none of the characters are particularly likeable, and its grotesque approach to sex and violence are sure to leave a gritty…

  • There Will Be Blood

    There Will Be Blood

    ★★★★★

    Too many words have already been written about P.T. Anderson's stunning deconstruction of the American primitive, so I'll try to keep it mercifully brief.

    There Will Be Blood constitutes a critical indictment of the dehumanising instinct inherent to individualism and the constant conflict - and unshakeable inseparability – between American capitalism and religion. Daniel Day-Lewis proves his method actor worth as Daniel Plainview, a rising Californian oil baron who relentlessly pursues wealth and dominance whilst lacking an understanding of what…