TIFF HITS AND MISSES
The Animal Project, The Great Beauty, Siddharth – just a few of the must-sees we tip among 25-plus TIFF reviews
THU, SEP 5 A STORY OF CHILDREN AND FILM
DOC D: Mark Cousins. United Kingdom. 101 min. Sep 5, 6 pm TIFF Bell Lightbox 2; Sep 6, 9 am Jackman Hall ( AGO); Sep 15, 2:45 pm Scotiabank 11 Rating: NNN Cousins follows his epic documentary The Story Of Film: An Odyssey with a smaller, more intimate project exploring the depiction of children in motion pictures from the silent era to the present day. Using home-video footage of his young niece and nephew at play as a contrast, Cousins flips through dozens of clips from a century of cinema to show how filmmakers have shaped the purer, less filtered performances of child actors for the screen.
It’s an intellectual exercise more than an emotional one, and Cousins’s enthusiasm for squeezing in just one more example of a given reaction means he winds up repeating his points more than once. But those points are pretty compelling, and, if nothing else, you’ll be introduced to two or three movies you’d otherwise never have discovered. NW
ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE
SP D: Jim Jarmusch w/ Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton. U. S. 123 min. Sep 5, 9 pm Ryerson; Sep 7, 12:15 pm Bloor Hot Docs Cinema Rating: NNNN Powered by droning guitars and a heroin- chic cinematic palette, Jarmusch’s tale of a vampire couple ( Swinton, Hiddleston) meeting up in decaying Detroit has the texture and vibe of every Velvet Underground song ever recorded – but of course that’s also its central metaphor.
Hiddleston’s Adam lives like a recluse in a shabby Motown manse, making music he swears he’ll never release; Swinton’s Eve is his fashion plate partner, just back from hanging out in Tangiers with a guy she calls Kit Marlowe ( John Hurt). They pick up deliveries of “the good stuff” and swan around in elegant decadence until Eve’s wild- child sister (Mia Wasikowska) gets in from L. A. and fucks up their perfect ennui. There’s still a week before TIFF 2013 begins, but here’s a sneak peek at some of the big-buzz flicks, awardsbound entries, quiet sleepers... and a few you should probably skip. Plus, NOW’s critics reveal what’s on their personal gotta-see lists. And check out tons more in next week’s issue along with news, reviews and tweets at nowtoronto.com/tiff. By NORMAN WILNER, SUSAN G. COLE, GLENN SUMI, JOHN SEMLEY, RADHEYAN SIMONPILLAI and PAUL ENNIS
The bone- dry wit and languid pacing recall the Jarmusch of Mystery Train and Dead Man, and the entire cast is having a ball. Adam’s music is pretty good, too. NW THE PAST (LE PASSé)
SP D: Asghar Farhadi w/ Ali Mosaffa, Bérénice Bejo. France/Italy. 130 min. Sep 5, 9:30 pm Visa Screening Room (Elgin); Sep 7, 10: 30 am TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 Rating:
NN The Past sees the pleasant soapiness that greased A Separation, Farhadi’s Oscar winner, reach full froth.
The Iranian director’s mastery of melodrama feels suffocating here, tragedy teetering into schmaltz. Mosaffa plays Ahmad, an Iranian who returns to a Parisian suburb to finalize a divorce with his wife (Bejo) so she can marry another man ( Tahar Rahim). Ahmad’s desire to fix things – upon arrival he immediately repairs a child’s bicycle – ends up fissuring his ex’s family dynamic, exposing lies on top of lies. Ahmad’s role as noble Mr. Fixit is never undermined, his low- key vanity offered as the solution to, never the cause of, the problems of everyone around him.
Farhadi may be heavy- handedly rooting for the cathartic power of The Truth, but his melodrama is tripped up by its own falseness – overwrought and shot through with some nasty misogyny. JS
FRI, SEP 6
SP D: Jennifer Baichwal, Edward Burtynsky. Canada. 92 min. Sep 6, 7
pm TIFF Bell Lightbox 1; Sep 8, 9 am Scotiabank 13 Rating: NNNN The new documentary by Manufactured Landscapes collaborators Baichwal and Burtynsky feels very much like a continuation of their previous work, once again exploring the effects of human industry on the natural world. Here they look at our oceans and rivers.
Baichwal’s contemplative approach meshes nicely with Burtynsky’s fondness for finding geometric patterns in gargantuan constructions – in this case, dams and aquifers. And producer/cinematographer Nicholas de Pencier captures some splendid high- definition images. ( Watermark may set a record for the most helicopter shots in a Canadian production.)
Baichwal and Burtynsky cushion their potentially grim ecological message with philosophical digressions and moments of unexpected whimsy… which seems like an awfully good idea right about now. NW
CWC D: Rashid Masharawi w/ Mahmoud Abu Jazi, Salah Hannoun. Palestine/ Tunisia/France/Norway/United Arab Emirates/Italy/Switzerland. 90 min. Sep 6, 9: 30 pm Scotiabank 14; Sep 7, 2:15 pm Scotiabank 14; Sep 15, 6 pm
Scotiabank 14 Rating: NNNN In this sly, ultimately moving Palestine entry, Abu Jazi and Hannoun play Gaza brothers left homeless by an Israeli air strike, which also took Stereo’s wife and Sami’s hearing.
They decide to immigrate to Canada, and in order to raise the $10,000 their application requires, undertake a series of sound gigs, tapping Sami’s electrician skills and the equipment Stereo used as a working musician.
The script is laced with irony – the guys rent a bullet- ridden ambulance to move their gear, and most of the gigs that garner their personal profits are collective protests against injustice.
This is by no means a one-note indictment of Israel. The Palestinian politicians are blowhards, and the conversations between Stereo and his friends, often excoriating Palestine’s ineffectual leadership, show complexity.
Better still, the pic was made for a paltry $ 1.5 million. Just shows that good storytelling doesn’t require a big budget. SGC
EMPIRE OF DIRT
CWC D: Peter Stebbings w/ Cara Gee, Jennifer Podemski. Canada. 99 min. Sep 6, 9:45 pm Scotiabank 2; Sep 8, 9:15 am
Scotiabank 14 Rating: NNN See the Cara Gee cover story and review of the film, page 8.
Sat, Sep 7
YOUNG & BeaUtIFUL
(Jeune & Jolie)
SP D: François Ozon w/ Marine Vacth, Géraldine Pailhas. France/Belgium. 94 min. Sep 7, 6 pm Visa Screening Room
(Elgin); Sep 15, 6 pm TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 Rating: NNNN Ozon’s story of a 17-year- old high school girl who leads a double life as a prostitute – a junior Belle De Jour – is a baffling work, but that’s its strength.
As Isabelle’s (a brilliant Vacth) hormones surge, she dispenses with her virginity on vacation like she’s shedding a coat. Ozon films the scene as if Isabelle can watch herself in action (inaction, actually – she’s plainly not into it), suggesting the disassociation many have linked to sex work.
But it’s never clear why Isabelle returns home and starts piling up cash by turning tricks after school. Is it because her dad is absent, or to separate from her caring mom (a superb Pailhas)? Does she relish her sexual power?
Told over the course of a year in four parts, each representing a season, the movie has some charming grace notes: the loving relationship between Isabelle and her younger brother, a winning sequence in which Isabelle’s class discusses Rimbeau, and a superb final scene featuring the great Charlotte Rampling.
But it’s Vacth who owns this movie. SGC
SUN, Sep 8
tHe SeLFISH GIaNt
CWC D: Clio Barnard w/ Conner Chapman, Shaun Thomas. United Kingdom. 91 min. Sep 8, 9:15 pm TIFF Bell Lightbox 2; Sep 9, 2:15 pm TIFF Bell Lightbox 3 Rating: NNNN Tossed out of school, 13-year- old Arbor (Chapman) and his best friend, Swifty ( Thomas), earn money stealing metal for Kitten ( Sean Gilder), who owns a scrapyard. Arbor is clever, enterprising and possessed of considerable charm and a gift of gab – perhaps symptomatic of ADHD. His ambition triggers a heart-tugging sequence of events that need never have happened.
We’re in Ken Loach social realist country. Director Barnard finds beauty in the wintry industrial wasteland of Bradford in northern England and gets naturalistic performance from the actors. Her spunky, working- class/broken- home characters are all the more touching because their schemes are unlikely to bear fruit. PE
GALA D: Ron Howard w/ Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl. United Kingdom/Germany. 123 min. Sep 8, 9: 30 pm Roy Thomson Hall; Sep 9, noon
Ryerson Rating: NNNN As in Apollo 13, Howard revisits history, making his material exciting and suspenseful even though the outcome is a matter of public record.
Throughout 1976, the world of Formula One auto racing was dominated by two men: the cold, cerebral Austrian Niki Lauda (Brühl) and the wildly charismatic English playboy James Hunt (Hemsworth). Howard and superb screenwriter Peter Morgan contrast their stories effectively, culminating in a series of races that – even for non-fans like me – will have your heart pounding in time with Hans Zimmer’s propulsive score.
The camerawork makes you feel like you’re on the track, but it’s Morgan’s script and the convincing, lived-in performances by the two actors that drive home the themes about competition and the best way to live one’s life. GS
MON, Sep 9
SP D: Louise Archambault w/ Gabrielle Marion- Rivard, Alexandre Landry. Canada.
104 min. Sep 9, 5 pm TIFF Bell Lightbox 1; Sep 11, 9 am Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
Rating: NNN Quebec writer/director Archambault isn’t aiming to push buttons in this gentle, charming romance about a mentally challenged 22-year- old exploring love and sex for the first time. She handles slightly provocative subject matter with a touch so sensitive that at times the film borders on timid.
Marion- Rivard (who actually has Williams syndrome) delivers a winning performance as the title character, a choir singer whose romance with a similarly handicapped young man (Landry) is stifled by the practical concerns of everyone around them.
While offering an emotionally sincere ( if slight) portrait of life with disability, Archambault gets caught up in rousing, overtly metaphorical choir numbers. They culminate in a grand appearance by Quebecois legend Robert Charlebois, who ushers in a resolution to satisfy an audience’s sweet tooth. RS
tHe INVISIBLe WOMaN
SP D: Ralph Fiennes w/ Fiennes, Felicity Jones. United Kingdom. 111 min. Sep 9, 6 pm Visa Screening Room (Elgin); Sep 10, 11:45 am TIFF Bell Lightbox 1 Rating: NNNN On its face, The Invisible Woman seems like a safe project for Fiennes’s directorial follow- up to 2011’s Coriolanus. It’s a conventional drama about the relationship between Charles Dickens (Fiennes) and Nellie Ternan ( Jones), the young woman who became his mistress. But while all the trappings of the proper British period piece are in place, this is a much more experimental treatment of the story than one might expect, with a complex consideration of all the characters – including Dickens’s wife, Catherine ( Joanna Scanlan) – and an editorial style that lingers on uncomfortable silences and repressed impulses.
Fiennes and Jones are terrific, but the actor/director gets excellent work out of pretty much everyone, including his English Patient co- star Kristin Scott Thomas. NW
FOR NO GOOD ReaSON
MAV D: Charlie Paul. United Kingdom. 89 min. Sep 9, 7:15 pm TIFF Bell Lightbox 3 Rating: NNN For No Good Reason positions itself as a documentary about Ralph Steadman, the British illustrator whose instantly recognizable style was the perfect accompaniment to Hunter S. Thompson’s gonzo journalism in the glory days of Rolling Stone magazine.
But director Paul and ostensible host Johnny Depp spend far too much time pumping the genial artist for stories of Thompson’s demented crusades – illustrated by animated versions of Steadman’s drawings, often narrated by Depp-as-Thompson – and pay not nearly enough attention to the man in front of them.
A sequence in which Steadman makes a lovely painting of his dog – defining musculature through splotches of paint, creating personality in sharp little lines – is a fascinating window into his process. The film could have done with more of that and fewer video clips of Thompson acting out. NW
METALLICA THROUGH THE NEVER
SP D: Nimród Antal. Canada/U. S. 92 min. Sep 9, 7: 30 pm Scotiabank 12 Rating: NNN Coming nearly a decade after the growing pains that formed the crux of Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky’s superb behind-the- scenes doc Some Kind Of Monster, Metallica Through The Never feels like a palate cleanser. It shows the band in peak form, working through hits like Fade To Black, Master Of Puppets and Fuel.
Like Bruce McDonald’s This Movie Is Broken, this film uncomfortably sutures a fictional narrative onto its concert footage, following a Metallica roadie (Dane DeHaan) dispatched on a fetch quest during the concert. The side plot’s ostensible tension between protesters and riot police is totally bogus. It’s also distracting, especially when Antal’s concert footage is so crisply choreographed. (Even the 3D works.)
Similarly offputting: the consistent focus on James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, the certifiable egomaniacs at the centre of the band. Why cut away from Kirk Hammett during a solo to focus on Hetfield’s strained, taking-a-dump facial expression? As in all things Metallica, it feels like the band’s unlikeable founders had final cut. JS
SP D: Sebastián Lelio w/ Paulina García, Sergio Hernandez. Chile/ Spain. 109 min. Sep 9, 7:45 pm TIFF Bell Lightbox 1; Sep 10, 5 pm Scotiabank 2 Rating: NNNN García is superb in this portrait of a smart 50-something woman, divorced for over 12 years and yearning for sexual connection. When she meets Alberto (Hernandez) at a club for middle-aged singles and begins a relationship, she learns she’s not willing to settle for half- measures.
García won – and richly deserved – the best-actress prize at the Berlin Film Festival as a woman coping with frustration. But as essential as her performance is the film’s unflinching portrayal of sex between aging partners. It’s such a rare thing in movies, it takes your breath away. SGC
THE GREAT BEAUTY (la Grande bellezza)
SP D: Paolo Sorrentino w/ Toni Servillo, Carlo Verdone. Italy. 142 min. Sep 9, 9:45 pm Scotiabank 1; Sep 11, 12:15 pm TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 Rating: NNNNN Sure, this gorgeous, sweeping indictment of contemporary Roman society under Berlusconi is self-indulgent, but Sorrentino is the kind of director you want to indulge.
Servillo stars as a 60- something journalist who wrote a bestselling novel when he was in his 20s but hasn’t written a thing that matters since. Instead, he’s immersed himself in all things shallow: the party circuit, pseudo-intellectual confabs with the rich and famous, meaningless sex.
Now he’s reflecting on his empty life in a series of spectacular vignettes that come tumbling out of cinematographer Luca Bigazzi and Sorrentino’s vivid imagination – over-the-top parties, an artist performing beside Roman ruins, a money- grubbing doctor injecting Botox in public, and a ton more.
Garish party sequences collide with serene images of Rome’s ancient art; beautiful, inspirational music meets club bangers. Just let the damn thing wash over you.
This movie is what film festivals are for. SGC
VAN D: Bruce LaBruce w/ Pier- Gabriel Lajole, Walter Borden. Canada. 90 min. Sep 9, 10: 30 pm Bloor Hot Docs Cinema; Sep 11, 9: 30 pm Scotiabank 11; Sep 13, 12:15 pm Scotiabank 3 Rating: NNN A young man named Lake (Lajoie) has a poster of Gandhi hanging on his bedroom wall, not just to inspire idealism but also a hard- on.
This may not be so shocking for those familiar with Canadian filmmaker LaBruce. The queer provocateur tackles a new taboo in this coming- of-ager that revolves around Lake’s thing for seniors. If his romance with 81-year- old Mr. Peabody (Borden) initially seems like an attempt to needle conservatives, LaBruce surprises with a warmth and tenderness – and quite a bit of humour – that carries the central relationship beyond fetishism. RS
TUE, SEP 10 SIDDHARTH
CWC D: Richie Mehta w/ Rajesh Tailang, Tannishtha Chatterjee. Canada. 96 min. Sep 10, 5 pm Winter Garden; Sep 12, noon TIFF Bell Lightbox 1 Rating: NNNN Richie Mehta is quickly becoming a premier voice in Indian cinema despite the fact that he’s from Canada. His sophomore feature about a man’s desperate search for his missing son is an assured and harrowing look at the poverty and desperation in India’s slums that makes tragedy so common.
In a performance both discreet and wrenching, Tailang plays Mahendra, a chain-wallah (he fixes zippers) who sends 12-year- old Siddarth to work out of town to help support the family. When Siddarth fails to return home, matters both trivial and critical frustrate Mahendra’s scrupulous pursuit. He has barely enough money for the trip and doesn’t even have a photo of his son to aid his investigation. A sociopolitical critique that
doesn’t interfere with the intimate story being told, Siddarth could be Canada’s next foreign- language Oscar nominee. RS
SP D: Joseph Gordon- Levitt w/ Joseph Gordon- Levitt, Scarlet Johansson. U. S. 90 min. Sep 10, 6: 30 pm Princess of Wales; Sep 11, 3 pm Ryerson Rating: NNN Writer/director Gordon- Levitt won’t be making any friends among those who – unlike me – think pornography isn’ toxic. He stars as Jon, a porn-addicted stud who can attract hot women but thinks porn is more exciting than the real thing – including Barbara ( Johansson, who’s terrific), his latest gorgeous but demanding conquest. Julianne Moore turns up as a grieving woman who could turn him around.
The script is sometimes super- savvy – especially when it makes the connections between hardcore porn and everyday advertising and when it touches on family influences, like Jon’s crude dad ( Tony Danza).
But it’s just a little too on the nose, and it contains a ton of porn, which raises the question: should an anti- porn film be reproducing so much of this toxic material? SGC
AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’ (un voyageur)
DOC D: Marcel Ophüls w/ Elliott Erwitt, Jeanne Moreau. France. 106 min. Sep 10, 7:15 pm Scotiabank 10; Sep 12, 12: 30 pm TIFF Bell Lightbox 3; Sep 15, 7:15 pm Jackman Hall (AGO) Rating: NNN Like an entertaining dinner guest who feels he owes you for the invitation, acclaimed documentarian Ophüls ( The Sorrow And The Pity) breezily recalls his life as the son of the legendary Max (Lola Montès) before touching on his own career.
Memories of a childhood spent playing on the sets of some of Germany’s most famous films morph into visions of his father as seducer in expensive sports cars, then turn to the son’s insider insights on a privileged life among figures like Preston Sturges, Jean- Paul Belmondo, Woody Allen, Stanley Kubrick, Bertolt Brecht and Jeanne Moreau, among others. His recollections of a long friendship with François Truffaut and a brief interlude with Marlene Dietrich provide some top- notch dish. PE
D: Hany Abu-Assad w/ Adam Bakri, Leem Lubany. Palestine. 98 min. Sep 10, 7: 30 pm TIFF Bell Lightbox 1; Sep 11, noon Bloor Hot Docs Cinema; Sep 15, 9: 30 pm Scotiabank 4 Rating: NNNN On the outskirts of a Palestinian village divided by Israel’s concrete security wall, three friends attack an Israeli garrison and kill a soldier. Omar (a sensitive Bakri) is arrested and, because he misses his girlfriend (Lubany) who lives on the other side of the wall, agrees to collaborate with a manipulative Israeli agent (a superb Waleed F Zuaiter).
Abu-Assad’s film, about informants and duplicity in the Palestinian territory, is a must- see for those who value the cinema of commitment. Siting its conflict within a recognizable social context puts a human face on a remarkably candid depiction of both sides of the ongoing cat-and- mouse game that is life in the occupied West Bank. PE
WHEN JEWS WERE FUNNY
DOC D: Alan Zweig. Canada. 90 min. Sep 10, 9:15 pm Scotiabank 13; Sep 12, 9:15 pm Bloor Hot Docs Cinema; Sep 15, 4:45 pm Scotiabank 9 Rating: NNN T.O. filmmaker Zweig isn’t sure of his themes in this survey of Jewish comics. Is it about whether Jews define American humour, what makes Jews funny or where Zweig himself fits in now that he’s married a non-Jew?
And it’s mainly a film about male Jewish comics. Of his scores of subjects, only two are women, and Judy Gold hammers away at that sexist chestnut, her horrible Jewish mother. Where’s Sarah Silverman, Sandra Bernhard, Fran Drescher? If you can dredge up archival stuff on Jackie Mason, you can find footage of Joan Rivers.
Still, it’s is a very entertaining survey of guys who know funny. Howie Mandel, Mark Breslin and David Brenner are especially smart, and almost all of them get laughs.
Especially fascinating are the interviews with the older pros, Norm Crosby, Jack Carter, Shelley Berman, all of whom deny their humour is Jewish. Then Berman sings an old Yiddish song that’ll make you verklempt. SGC
STRANGER BY THE LAKE
CWC D: Alain Guiraudie w/ Pierre Deladonchamps, Christophe Paou. France. 97 min. Sep 10, 9:45 pm Scotiabank 4; Sep 11, 3:45 pm TIFF Bell Lightbox 2; Sep 15, 3:15 pm TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 Rating: NNNN This uneasy masterpiece of genre mashing combines homosexual desire with homicide (not to mention some full- on hardcore man- on- man sex). At a male nude beach on the edge of a French forest, Franck (Deladonchamps) falls in love with Michel (Paou) even though he’s just seen him drown a previous lover.
Beautifully shot in natural light, taking full advantage of the location’s intrinsic beauty (and using only ambient sound), the film walks a fine line between sex, death and passion in a gay microcosm. On one level a suspenseful thriller, ultimately this complex film is about lust itself. PE
WED, sEp 11
THE ANImAL pROJEcT
D: Ingrid Veninger w/ Aaron Poole, Joey Klein. Canada. 90 min. Sep 11, 7: 30 pm Isabel Bader; Sep 12, 5 pm Scotiabank 13; Sep 14, 7:45 pm TIFF Bell Lightbox 4 Rating: NNNN The Animal Project feels like a transitional project for Veninger – and I mean that in a good way. The reigning queen of lo-fi Canadian cinema has upped her game without abandoning any of her characteristic whimsy.
Her tale of an acting teacher (Poole) who dresses his students in animal costumes and sends them out into Toronto to jump around and hug people has a narrative structure with solid story beats rather than the gentle drift of Only, Modra and i am a good person / i am a bad person. It also further distinguishes itself with a more formal visual style than she’s attempted before.
Veninger’s still doing what she does best – finding moving moments of emotional connection between awkward, confused people. It’s just that this time one of them’s wearing a squirrel suit. NW
MANUSCRIPTS DON’T BURN (Dast-neveshtehaa nemisoozanD)
D: Mohammad Rasoulof. Iran. 127 min. Sep 11, 9:15 pm Scotiabank 14; Sep 13, 9: 30 am Scotiabank 10; Sep 15, 1:45 pm Jackman Hall (AGO) Rating: NNNN In this compulsively watchable piece of humanistic agitprop, two employees of the Iranian security apparatus use clinical, matter- of-fact thuggery to silence freedom of speech. Inspired by the attempted murder of 21 writers and journalists in 1995 and filmed clandestinely in Iran and Germany, the film shines a giant light on Iranian government intimidation and repression.
It’s an audacious act of courage on the part of Rasoulof, who was sentenced to a year in prison (the sentence has yet to be carried out) and forbidden to make a film for 20 years. (He’s now outside Iran.) He’s a confident storyteller and a man of great courage. For their own protection, the names of the cast members are deliberately missing from the credits. PE
THu, sEp 12
THE sTRANGE LITTLE cAT (Das merkwürDige kätzchen)
D: Ramon Zürcher w/ Jenny Schily, Mia Kasalo. Germany. 72 min. Sep 12, 7:45 pm Jackman Hall ( AGO); Sep 13, 9:45 am TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 Rating: NNNN Set entirely within a Berlin apartment, Zürcher’s minimalist debut charts the interactions of half a dozen members of a family as they bustle around the smallish space in anticipation of an elderly relative’s arrival.
An incredibly obnoxious little girl (Kasalo) bothers everyone, while her mother (Schily) spends her time staring into the middle distance, gripped by a melancholy that’s never explained. Two of the menfolk get their shirts dirty and have to change. Occasionally the family pets wander through the action. ( The cat is not that strange.)
It’s up to us to suss out what each interaction means or doesn’t mean. This isn’t a conventional domestic tale; it’s a stylized, elliptical study of unspoken affection and buried tensions. NW
FRI, sEp 13 A FIELD IN ENGLAND
D: Ben Wheatley w/ Reece Shearsmith, Michael Smiley. United Kingdom. 90 min. Sep 13, 9 pm Ryerson; Sep 14, 9 pm TIFF Bell Lightbox 3 Rating: NNNN After Kill List in 2011 and Sightseers and The ABCs Of Death last year, British maverick Wheatley returns to the festival with his oddest work to date, which is really saying something.
It’s 1648, and a cowardly servant ( Shearsmith) finds himself among a ragged group of English Civil War deserters commanded by a maniac ( Smiley) bent on finding the treasure he’s convinced is hidden somewhere in the eponymous location. Digging ensues, and also madness, divination, social disease and shovels to the face.
Shot in widescreen black-and-white by Laurie Rose and edited by Wheatley and screenwriter Amy Jump, it’s alternately beautiful to behold and utterly assaultive. But it would have been better placed in Midnight Madness, where the audience is ready to freak out right along with the movie.
Only Lovers Left Alive