By Friday, I will have watched 23 new films in a span of two weeks. I don’t have time to write full-length reviews on all of those, so there’ll be some mini-reviews, even of some of the better films (like the ones below) if they are the kind where the less you know about them, the more you will enjoy the experience of watching them.
What will probably be my favourite film of the festival (and maybe my favourite film of 2015) is one of those films. Victoria is an extraordinary one-shot wonder from Germany made by Sebastian Schipper. Filmed in Berlin in the early hours of the morning, Victoria begins with a young Spanish woman (brilliantly played by Laia Costa) leaving a club and being immediately accosted by a group of four young men, most of whom have had too much to drink. That’s all you’re going to hear from me about the plot. All I’ll say is that the 140 minutes which follow include a number of action scenes. To pull this kind of film off in one shot is an awesome achievement on its own, but it’s also much more fun to watch than Russian Ark. For the most part, I enjoyed the story of Victoria very much, though the central conceit of the film necessitates some contrivance and limits character development. ****. My mug is up for a film that is guaranteed to be in my top ten films of 2015.
I will tell you even less about the plot of The Lobster (I’m so glad I knew absolutely nothing before I walked in). The Lobster is a dystopian film from Ireland made by Yorgos Lanthimos and starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz as … hey, nice try, but like I said, I’m not telling you anything about this film’s plot. Maybe I’ll come back after its general release and say more. For now, I’ll just say that Farrell’s performance is one of his best ever and Weisz almost keeps up. I’m a sucker for intelligent thought-provoking dystopian films, so even though the story fades somewhat in the last half, I am giving The Lobster ****. My mug is up.
Based on the bestselling book by Emma Donoghue (who also wrote the screenplay), the plot of Room will be known to many. But I knew nothing (despite sitting through the trailer at least a dozen times) and that gave me a special start to the film which few viewers will experience. So again I will say nothing, though most reviewers will have no difficulty describing the plot at length. I’ll come back to Room in a few weeks. In the meantime, I’ll just say that Room, directed by Lenny Abrahamson, features a terrific performance by Brie Larson as a young mother of a five-year-old boy under very unique and difficult conditions. A dark film, Room is nevertheless suitable for a wider audience. ***+. My mug is up.
Brooklyn, directed by John Crowley and written by Nick Hornby, is a very different kind of film. Here it’s not as critical to say as little as possible about the plot but my thoughts on the film are easily summarized in one paragraph: