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  • Faust

    Faust

    ★★★★½

    Before anything else, Faust is a movie drunk on cinematic possibility. Everything about its construction – including but not limited to its performances, costume design, sets, and astonishing cinematography – seems designed to draw attention to its artifice. However, the sum of those parts forms a vision so overwhelming that it still demands the viewer’s investment. In the first third, that’s accomplished with a series of staggering images (an early shot of the devil looming impossibly large over a small…

  • The Deep End

    The Deep End

    ★★★★

    The Deep End is an unexpectedly poignant thriller, somehow both excessive and understated. That excess comes largely from the progression of the narrative, which is seemingly comprised exclusively of narrative turns that would undo a film with a less precise aesthetic. The understatement comes in part from the film's aesthetic, with various shades of blue lending the film an atmosphere both cool and claustrophobic. It's easy to imagine another actress tackling the central role, of a mother trying to protect…

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  • Before Sunset

    Before Sunset

    ★★★★

    The only sequel I've ever seen that not only betters the original, but also makes the original better in retrospect. Linklater brings his usual excellent sense of time and place to Before Sunset, and the second encounter between Celine and Jesse is even more poignant than the first.

    Hawke is just as excellent here as he is in the first: he's fantastic with the dialogue, but my favourite moment of his performance is on the boat, with Hawke watching Delpy…

  • The Nightingale

    The Nightingale

    ★★★★

    Jennifer Kent's follow-up to The Babadook also centres on a traumatised woman. Where that film confined itself largely to the domestic space, however, The Nightingale uses the landscape of 19th-century Australia as the canvas for a kind of revisionist western. Revisionist westerns are more common in the 21st century than the classical form, of course, but The Nightingale is powered by a distinctly feminine fury. Kent's choice to shoot in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio deprives viewers of the panoramic vistas…