To­hit­thes­pot

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM REVIEWS - TARABRADY TARA BRADY TARA BRADY

Hardy) and for­mer Nick­leodean star­let Alexandra Shipp’s scene-steal­ing Storm.

Mean­while, lin­ing up for the white hats, James McAvoy’s Pro­fes­sor X is joined by charm­ing new team ad­di­tions Jean Grey ( Game of Thrones’ So­phie Turner), Kodi Smit-McPhee’s Nightcrawler (an­other scene stealer), Tye Sheri­dan’s Cy­clops and J-Law, who, mak­ing the most of her star wattage, dis­penses with some of the blue skin in favour of look­ing like J-Law.

High­lights in­clude an un­sur­pris­ing (yet wel­come) star cameo and the most elab­o­rate screen runaround to date for Quick­sil­ver (Evan Peters). Low points in­clude: ic brute hus­band.

“You are a failed wife and a failed mother and you will rot in the bow­els of hell,” he tells Ais­lin in one of their more ten­der mo­ments to­gether. The un­happy cou­ple have al­ready lost a child in a lu­di­crously over­heated open­ing se­quence.

Balor, who rou­tinely men­tions his ser­vice dur­ing the war (pre­sum­ably sec­ond) is in the mid­dle of a heated do­mes­tic dis­pute when a young main­lan­der named Fionn (Ross An­der­son) ar­rives on their doorstep. Well this can only turn out well.

An­der­son’s per­for­mance re­tains a de­gree of nu­ance, the 15 min­utes re­quired for ev­ery sin­gle X-Man to re­mem­ber to use his or her pow­ers; a to­tal fail­ure to make merry with the Cold War back­drop; and an end­less, and end­lessly fluffed hy­per-mega-global de­struc­tion scene wherein pix­e­lated ver­sions of world mon­u­ments are blown into still more pix­els ad nau­seam.

Re­turn­ing di­rec­tor Bryan Singer birthed this suc­cess­ful fran­chise when the Marvel­verse was still ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing flops ( Pu­n­isher) be­tween hits ( Blade and Spi­der-Man). Seven­teen years on, the se­quence feels almost as old as its sorry an­tag­o­nist. Time for X to take some zzzz, per­haps. while his more ex­pe­ri­enced co-stars sound like a can­nons mounted be­fore mega­phones. It’s hardly their fault. Ev­ery­thing about The Silent Storm sug­gests a screen­play was writ­ten en­tirely IN CAP­I­TAL LET­TERS. No “r” goes un­rolled, no piece of fur­ni­ture is un­pounded.

Joanna Hogg’s reg­u­lar di­rec­tor of photography Ed Ruther­ford seeks out sparse, windswept tableaux, but one sus­pects that the only rea­son this is play­ing in cin­e­mas is that Barbara Broccoli, the vet­eran Bond mogul, is listed as an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer. Fishy. MIR­ROR/ZERKALO Di­rected by An­drei Tarkovsky. Star­ring Mar­garita Terekhova, Ig­nat Danilt­sev, Larisa Tarkovskaya, Alla Demi­dova. Club, IFI, Dublin, 106 min If one needed to ex­plain the term “arthouse” to a ma­raud­ing space alien, the nonemore-arthouse Mir­ror ticks all boxes: Voiceover? Check. Ran­dom news­reel in­serts? Check. Non­lin­ear nar­ra­tive? Check. Shots of pages turn­ing in Mao’s Lit­tle Red Book? Yep.

An­drei Tarkovsky’s quasi­au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal film poem, orig­i­nally re­leased in 1975, floats and flits be­tween pre­war, wartime and post­war years as the film-maker con­tem­plates his re­la­tion­ship with his mother, his es­tranged wife and his moth­er­land. In com­mon with Stalker (1979) and Nos­tal­gia (1983), the writ­ings of poet Arseni Tarkovsky (An­drei’s father) are heard, and Tarkovsky’s mother, Maria Vish­nyakova, ap­pears as her­self.

Tarkovsky’s al­ter-ego, Alexei (Ig­nat Danilt­sev), drifts through mem­o­ries and dreams: the fam­ily barn by his

Par­ent, trapped: Mar­garita Terekhova in An­drei Tarkovsky’s Mir­ror

child­hood home burns down; his mother washes her hair; he squab­bles with his wife; he un­der­goes ri­fle train­ing as an ado­les­cent; he re­unites with his father and sis­ter at the end of the war; his son reads from a let­ter by Pushkin; and, con­fined to bed, he waits for death.

Ghostly ar­chive footage from the Span­ish Civil War and Sino-Soviet clashes is spliced be­tween rec­ol­lec­tions that may not be wholly re­li­able: Alexei’s mother, no­tably, is al­ter­nately called Maria, Marushka and Masha. Other rem­i­nis­cences are coloured by cul­tural in­flu­ences.

Many of DOP Ge­orgy Rer­berg’s com­po­si­tions echo works by Da Vinci and (a Tarkovsky favourite) Bruegel the El­der. There are nods, as well, to the di­rec­tor’s own work: a poster for An­drei Rublev (1966) hangs on the pro­tag­o­nist’s wall. The score by Ed­uard Arte­myev is ap­po­sitely haunt­ing.

Mir­ror was not widely re­leased upon its com­ple­tion, yet it soon be­came a cult favourite in the USSR. Its rep­u­ta­tion has grown steadily in An­glo­phone ter­ri­to­ries over the past decade, plac­ing 19th in Sight & Sound’s most re­cent crit­ics’ poll, and ninth in the cor­re­spond­ing di­rec­tors’ poll.

Tarkovsky’s stream-of­con­scious­ness con­tin­ues to cast a lengthy shadow on ex­per­i­men­tal cin­ema. Mir­ror is much copied, but as the re­cent run of Ter­rence Mal­ick films demon­strates, es­chew­ing time and plot for flot­sam and psy­che is much harder than Tarkovsky makes it look.

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