HOTSHOTS

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Film -

Ro­mu­lus, My Fa­ther ( M): Richard Roxburgh’s heart­felt, mov­ing film of Rai­mond Gaita’s mem­oir of his trou­bled child­hood in rural Vic­to­ria ( a fam­ily riven by mad­ness, sui­cide and a mother’s promis­cu­ity) never quite cap­tures the an­guished depths and re­flec­tive power of Gaita’s writ­ing, de­spite a fine por­trayal by Eric Bana of fatherly love and Kodi SmitMcPhee’s un­for­get­table per­for­mance as the boy Rai­mond. — Evan Wil­liams

The US vs John Len­non ( M): An ex­cel­lent doc­u­men­tary, made with help from Yoko Ono, about John Len­non’s po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties in Amer­ica in the ’ 70s, and the at­tempts by the FBI and the Nixon ad­min­is­tra­tion to have him de­ported. A re­minder of what the ’ 70s were like and the role Len­non played in the anti- Viet­nam War move­ment. — David Stratton

Pi­rates of the Caribbean: At World’s End ( M): Not even Johnny Depp’s won­der­ful Jack Spar­row, Ge­of­frey Rush’s schem­ing Bar­bossa and the tech­ni­cal wiz­ardry of di­rec­tor Gore Verbin­ski’s spe­cial ef­fects team can sus­tain the third in­stal­ment of Dis­ney’s pi­rate saga. Ev­ery­thing is as grandly spec­tac­u­lar and in­ge­niously spooky as ever, but a numb­ing sense of overkill and nar­ra­tive chaos pre­vails. — E. W.

Into Great Si­lence ( G): Philip Gron­ing’s daunt­ing doc­u­men­tary of nearly three hours takes us inside the walls of the Great Char­ter­house, a monastery in the French Alps where the monks have taken a vow of si­lence. The cam­era mutely ob­serves th­ese ded­i­cated men and the re­sult is qui­etly se­duc­tive, though it’s hard to es­cape the im­pres­sion that th­ese are wasted lives. — D. S.

In­fa­mous ( MA15+): The sec­ond film in less than a year about Tru­man Capote’s re­la­tion­ship with two homi­ci­dal drifters whose crimes in­spired his book In Cold Blood . Toby Jones gives a creep­ily con­vinc­ing im­per­son­ation of the writer, but Douglas McGrath’s film spends too much time evok­ing Man­hat­tan’s so­cial scene and re- cre­at­ing the graphic hor­ror of the crime. — E. W.

My Best Friend ( M): The new film from Pa­trice Le­conte stars Daniel Au­teuil as a suc­cess­ful but an­ti­so­cial an­tiques dealer who has to come up with a best friend within 10 days. It’s an el­e­gantly filmed med­i­ta­tion on the na­ture of friend­ship, with fine per­for­mances from Au­teuil and Dany Boon as a friendly stranger. — D. S.

Breach ( M): A su­perb thriller from di­rec­tor Billy Ray ( Shat­tered Glass ) about US ef­forts to trap a high- level spy work­ing in the FBI. Rich in hu­man pathos and moral sub­tleties, with ex­cel­lent per­for­mances from Chris Cooper and Ryan Phillippe. — E. W.

Zo­diac ( MA15+): David Fincher has made a fine, grip­ping drama about the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a se­rial killer who ter­rorised San Fran­cisco in the ’ 70s. Jake Gyl­len­haal and Robert Downey Jr as news­pa­per­men and Mark Ruf­falo as the po­lice of­fi­cer head­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion are in top form. — D. S.

Falls short: A scene from Ro­mu­lus, My Fa­ther

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