Stock thriller


cat­a­stroph­i­cally. Poor old Kyle Bud­well (Jack O’Con­nell), a work­ing-class Joe, lost his shirt on the deal and is com­ing to ex­tract very pub­lic re­venge. He bursts into the stu­dio and re­veals the ex­plo­sives strapped around his midriff. Un­less some large amount of money is put his way, he will blow Ge­orge’s lovely head off.

The film makes much of the way the mar­ket has turned in­vest­ments into mys­te­ri­ous elec­tronic quanta whose be­hav­iour is de­fined solely in terms of their re­la­tion­ship to other units in the vir­tual net­work. That’s to say: no­body knows how this stuff works. around that struc­ture. In the case of Mon Roi, this means, for the most part, that they de­vise their own ar­gu­ments.

The film works best when talk­ing us through the early stages of the re­la­tion­ship. The cast dis­cover those odd trig­gers that fire pas­sion and high­light them to con­vinc­ing ef­fect. (Ob­vi­ously, it’s a lit­tle eas­ier to be­lieve in love at first sight when it hap­pens be­tween peo­ple as easy on the eye as Ber­cot and Cas­sel.) The bawl­ing and weep­ing in the The pic­ture then slightly un­der­mines its own ar­gu­ment by fo­cus­ing on a scam that is just that bit too easy to un­der­stand. If you can ex­plain it this sim­ply then it would surely never come off.

For all that, thanks to strong turns from the leads – O’Con­nell is touch­ing as the mis­guided rube; Do­minic West is a be­liev­able Master of the Uni­verse; Ju­lia Roberts is steady as Clooney’s pro­ducer – the film de­vel­ops into a well-bal­anced, im­pres­sively tense cham­ber piece. It’s never wholly be­liev­able, but it’s great fun through­out. later stages doesn’t feel quite so con­vinc­ingly nu­anced, but Cas­sel is so vis­i­bly en­gaged in the act of be­ing a jerk that the film rarely flags. His nar­cis­sism is end­less. His im­pa­tience with or­di­nary man­ners is in­fu­ri­at­ing. Claire Mathon shoots it all in lovely shades. The Bri­tish com­poser Stephen War­beck scores it very taste­fully.

If watch­ing beau­ti­ful peo­ple fall apart beau­ti­fully floats your boat, then Mon Roi will do very well, thank you. THE DAUGH­TER Di­rected by Si­mon Stone. Star­ring Ge­of­frey Rush, Ewen Les­lie, Paul Sch­nei­der, Mi­randa Otto, Anna Torv, Odessa Young, Sam Neill. 15A cert , lim­ited re­lease, 95min Not too far into The Daugh­ter, Hed­vig – the teenager of the ti­tle – en­dures a failed and fum­bling sex­ual en­counter in the woods. It is about as suc­cess­ful as hu­man re­la­tions get for much of the film’s du­ra­tion.

Fam­ily woes sel­dom come more woe­ful: as The Daugh­ter opens, chilly pa­tri­arch and mill owner Henry Neil­son (Ge­of­frey Rush) in­forms his em­ploy­ees that their ser­vices will no longer be re­quired. Among those af­fected are the re­silient Oliver Finch (Ewen Les­lie), who tells his wife, Char­lotte (Mi­randa Otto), and tear­away teenage daugh­ter, Hed­vig (Odessa Young), that they have no need to worry.

Back at the big house, Henry is pre­par­ing to marry Anna, his far younger for­mer house­keeper (Anna Torv). His es­tranged son, Chris­tian (Paul Sch­nei­der), has re­turned from the US for the oc­ca­sion, but prefers the com­pany of his old chum Oliver to hang­ing out with dad.

Against this back­drop of sim­mer­ing re­sent­ment, the rev­e­la­tion of a fam­ily se­cret threat­ens to tip the en­tire en­ter­prise into scenery munch­ing. Hap­pily, no fur­ni­ture was harmed dur­ing the mak­ing of this film. The­atre wun­derkind Si­mon Stone’s di­rec­to­rial de­but – adapted from his own en­thu­si­as­ti­cally re­ceived stage ver­sion of Ib­sen’s The Wild Duck – has at­tracted ac­tors with fran­chise films on their CV (Rush, Otto).

The re­sults are worth the

Three gen­er­a­tions: Ewen Les­lie, Odessa Young and Sam Neill in The Daugh­ter

(pre­sumed) pay cut. Work­ing with meaty roles, the col­lec­tive pro­duce a del­i­cate juli­enne of guarded feel­ings. Rush, in par­tic­u­lar, is As You’ve Never Seen Him Be­fore.

Thus, even Ib­sen’s duck no longer seems like a lum­ber­ing metaphor. Direc­tor of pho­tog­ra­phy An­drew Com­mis matches the on-cam­era re­straint with el­e­gant widescreen com­po­si­tions that never sug­gest the dread phrase “filmed play”.

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