The new movie from Sally Potter (Orlando) is a quick-witted chamber piece starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Patricia Clarkson, and Timothy Spall, among others. It’s playing now in limited release and absolutely worth seeking out.
…from the first flash-forward appearance of a frazzled Kristin Scott Thomas brandishing a pistol through the onion-skin layering of the initially celebratory and ultimately catastrophic dinner party that follows, this is a high-spirited black comedy with a crackling, biting energy…
Two years ago, Nicolas Winding Refn blew some people away with Drive, his mannered homage to 1980s’ crime films. Starring Ryan Gosling as a stoic getaway car driver, it didn’t have much of a story, but the cool and moody style was something to behold. Refn and Gosling’s blood-soaked, Bangkok-set followup, Only God Forgives, takes the impulses of that earlier film and pursues them to the nth degree; it may as well be a silent for the lack of dialogue.
Only God Forgives opens tomorrow in limited release. My full review is at Film Racket:
Ryan Gosling doesn’t say much in his second collaboration with Drive filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn. He’s busy looking into the middle distance like a wounded child and occasionally erupting into violence. “Wanna fight?” is about the extent of his verbal skills. For all his cut-from-granite movements and dead-eyed staring, he may as well be Jean-Claude Van Damme. Of course, if played by the Muscles from Brussels, Gosling’s character might have gotten out of a few of the scrapes that leave him looking like a pit bull’s chew toy by the end of this slow-motion surrealist horrorshow dressed up like an arthouse crime story…
In Francois Ozon’s pitch-perfect comedy In the House, a cynical schoolteacher who’s also a failed writer becomes obsessed with a student’s supposedly autobiographical essays about stalking a friend’s family. It’s a sharp piece of work, knowing and cynical without being obvious, and possibly too smart for its own good.
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