MOVIE RE­VIEWS

Disobe­di­ence ★★★★★ Ralph Breaks the In­ter­net ★★★★✩ Creed II ★★★✩✩

Irish Examiner - Weekend - - Tv & Film - De­clan Burke

God gives us the free­dom to sub­mit or dis­obey, the el­derly Rav Krushka (An­ton Lesser) an­nounces at the be­gin­ning of Disobe­di­ence (15A). Called home from New York to Lon­don when the Rav sub­se­quently dies, prodi­gal daugh­ter Ronit (Rachel Weisz) re­ceives a chilly wel­come from the Ortho­dox com­mu­nity she left be­hind some years ago. Her old friends Dovid (Alessan­dro Nivola) and Esti (Rachel McAdams), now mar­ried, grudg­ingly al­low Ronit to stay in their home, and soon old pas­sions come surg­ing to the sur­face again. Adapted from Naomi Al­der­man’s novel by Re­becca Lenkiewicz and Se­bastián Le­lio, with Le­lio di­rect­ing,

Disobe­di­ence is a pow­er­ful drama of sup­pressed emo­tions that cen­tres on the char­ac­ter of Ronit, whose com­plex re­la­tion­ship with her fa­ther — a re­li­gious in­tel­lec­tual beloved by the com­mu­nity, but se­vere in his per­sonal af­fec­tions — is fur­ther com­pli­cated not only by her gen­der (Dovid, we’re told, is the son the Rav never had) but her sex­u­al­ity. Self-ex­ile was Ronit’s idea of self­p­reser­va­tion, but such free­doms come at a cost, and par­tic­u­larly for those left be­hind; in the years since Ronit dis­ap­peared to New York, Esti, pre­vi­ously Ronit’s lover, has been con­demned to a life of quiet des­per­a­tion. A nu­anced, gen­er­ous script also in­cor­po­rates Dovid’s dilemma. Anointed the Rav’s nat­u­ral suc­ces­sor as the leader of his com­mu­nity, Dovid be­lat­edly dis­cov­ers the ex­tent of his wife’s be­trayal, and must come to terms with his own lim­i­ta­tions as a man of wis­dom. Play­ing out against the back­drop of the Ortho­dox ob­ser­vance of the mourn­ing rites, and set in a non­de­script Lon­don sub­urb, Disobe­di­ence em­ploys a muted palette of colours to con­vey the low-key, dis­creet but in­tense strug­gle that evolves be­tween the lead­ing trio, with Weisz, McAdams and Nivola all qui­etly bril­liant. Ralph Breaks the In­ter­net (G), the se­quel to Wreck-It Ralph (2012), opens with the wellmean­ing but clumsy com­puter game char­ac­ter Ralph (voiced by John C Reilly) ac­ci­den­tally sab­o­tag­ing the ar­cade game of his best friend, Vene­lope (Sarah Sil­ver­man). Tak­ing ad­van­tage of the ar­cade’s new wi-fi to es­cape into the in­ter­net in search of the game’s miss­ing part, Ralph — as the ti­tle sug­gests — wreaks havoc in the on­line world. Di­rected by Wreck-It Ralph writer Phil John­ston and its writer-di­rec­tor Rich Moore, Ralph Breaks the In­ter­net is a bright, bouncy and ef­fer­ves­cent tale, and par­tic­u­larly when Vene­lope, a rac­ing car driver,

stum­bles into the vi­cious on­line world of Slaugh­ter Race, where the stakes are con­sid­er­ably higher than in the candy-coloured world of her pre­dictable ar­cade game — all of which causes the over-pro­tec­tive Ralph to freak out, and start schem­ing on how best to lure Vene­lope back to the bor­ing but safe en­vi­rons of their ar­cade. The sub­text, of course, re­volves around how much, or lit­tle, free­dom is nec­es­sary for a child’s de­vel­op­ment; can Ralph learn to trust Vene­lope to be ma­ture enough to live in her strange new world? The first half of the movie roars past in a blur of vi­brant colours and speed­ing cars, but the mid­dle sec­tion gets a lit­tle bogged down with pok­ing fun at, whilst si­mul­ta­ne­ously plug­ging the be­ja­sus out of, a host of the in­ter­net’s re­tail gi­ants. That said, the scene in which Vene­lope en­coun­ters a horde of Dis­ney princesses while they re­lax be­hind the scenes of a meet-and-greet is prob­a­bly the fun­ni­est thing in a movie that doesn’t quite hit the heights of the orig­i­nal, but nev­er­the­less de­liv­ers plenty of laughs and an emo­tional fi­nale.

Creed II (12A) takes up where Creed (2015) left off, with Rocky Bal­boa (Sylvester Stal­lone) fi­nally coach­ing young boxer Ado­nis ‘Donny’ Creed (Michael B Jor­dan) to the world ti­tle. Donny doesn’t get much time to rest on his lau­rels, how­ever: the con­tender who emerges from the Ukraine, Vik­tor Drago (Flo­rian Mun­teanu), is the son of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lund­gren), the man who killed Donny’s fa­ther Apollo in the ring. Writ­ten by Juel Tay­lor and Sylvester Stal­lone, with Stephen Caple Jr di­rect­ing, Creed

II isn’t ex­actly a re­make of Rocky IV, when Rocky faced off against Ivan Drago, although it’s not sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ent ei­ther — in­deed, Rocky makes a point of coach­ing Donny to fight the phys­i­cally su­pe­rior Vik­tor Drago in the same way as Rocky him­self adapted his own style to take on Vik­tor’s fa­ther. But while the box­ing as­pects of the story play out much as ex­pected, Creed II is strong on Donny’s per­sonal life: newly en­gaged to Bianca (Tessa Thomp­son), who is ex­pect­ing their child, Donny must con­tem­plate the pos­si­bil­ity of dy­ing in the ring like his fa­ther, just when he has fi­nally dis­cov­ered he was so much to live for. Stylishly pro­duced, and more un­der­stated than you might ex­pect a box­ing flick to be, Creed II is per­haps most no­table for the on­go­ing ma­tur­ing of Sylvester Stal­lone into a won­der­fully idio­syn­cratic char­ac­ter ac­tor, who in­vests ev­ery scene with a ram­shackle charm.

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