Not quite hard­core

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM - DON­ALD CLARKE

PULP: A FILM ABOUT LIFE DEATH & SU­PER­MAR­KETS Di­rected by Flo­rian Habicht. Fea­tur­ing Jarvis Cocker, Nick Banks, Can­dida Doyle, Steve Mackey, Mark Web­ber, Richard Haw­ley

Club, QFT, Belfast; IFI/Light House, Dublin, 90 min Much is, un­der­stand­ably enough, made of the fact that it took Pulp some 16 years – from the post-punk era to the early days of Brit­pop – to achieve any­thing like main­stream fame.

Golly, time moves on. A fur­ther two decades have passed since His’n’Hers, their break­through LP, fi­nally an­nounced the Sh­effield band to a wider world. So, rather than ad­dress­ing a hap­pen­ing phe­nom­e­non, this sin­cere, ef­fi­ciently made doc­u­men­tary ends up cel­e­brat­ing some­thing of an in­sti­tu­tion.

When such films emerge, even the most loyal fans may find them­selves plead­ing that the fo­cus is not ex­clu­sively on the present (yes, we’re think­ing of you, Made of Stone). It’s nice that Jarvis Cocker, the Sta Prest Queen Mum, has be­come a crusty reg­u­lar on BBC Ra­dio 4 and Ques­tion Time, but that’s not the in­car­na­tion we most savour.

Sad to re­late, the main fo­cus of A Film about Life Death & Su­per­mar­kets is, in­deed, a re­cent (pos­si­bly “fi­nal”) con­cert in Pulp’s home city. We do en­counter the odd snip­pet of ar­chive footage, but fans hop­ing for a nos­tal­gic trawl through the back cat­a­logue should pre­pare them­selves for dis­ap­point­ment.

Still, it can’t be said that Kiwi di­rec­tor Flo­rian Habicht doesn’t put his shoul­der to the wheel. The film me­an­ders about that char­ac­ter­ful south York­shire city and draws views on the band from a va­ri­ety of ec­centrics and loud­mouths. We see the choir re­hears­ing. En­coun­ter­ing a pound­ing lack of subtlety, we go among old people for a ren­di­tion of Help the Aged. Jarvis talks us through his drift from un­wanted out­sider to greatly de­sired out­sider.

It’s all car­ried off with great in­tegrity and some in­ven­tion, but the film is un­likely to win over many not al­ready con­verted. Even hard­core fans may wish for a lit­tle less Las Ve­gas Jarvis and a lit­tle more Jarvis be­fore he went into the army.

Do you get my drift? Do you? Well, I can’t see any­body else smil­ing in here.

Di­rected by Olivier Da­han. Star­ring Ni­cole Kid­man, Tim Roth, Frank Lan­gella, Parker Posey, Milo Ven­timiglia, Derek Ja­cobi, Paz Vega, Geral­dine Somerville, Robert Lind­say, Ni­cholas Far­rell

PG cert, gen re­lease,103 min We could for­give Ni­cole Kid­man for com­ing across like a mildly am­bu­la­tory wax­work in this al­ready no­to­ri­ous ha­giog­ra­phy if she were, at least, com­ing across like a mildly am­bu­la­tory wax­work of Princess Grace. This is not the case.

Ms Kid­man’s ver­sion of the for­mer Grace Kelly sug­gests noth-

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