Hor­ror clas­sics

Daily Express - - WEEKEND FILMS - THE HAPPY PRINCE STU­DIO 54 STAN­LEY A MAN OF VA­RI­ETY THE CI­AMBRA

(Cert 15, 105mins) IT TOOK Ru­pert Everett 10 years to make his film about Os­car Wilde’s fi­nal years. And you can feel that burn­ing passion in his bril­liant per­for­mance as the writer and fa­mous wit.

On this ev­i­dence, if Everett hadn’t wasted his best years hang­ing around with Madonna in New York, he would now be recog­nised as one of this na­tion’s finest liv­ing ac­tors.

Everett, who wrote and di­rected the film, am­bi­tiously frames it with Wilde’s story of The Happy Prince. In flash­backs Wilde tells the story to his own chil­dren in Lon­don and to two street urchins in Paris, where he fled af­ter serv­ing a two-year sen­tence at Read­ing Gaol for “gross in­de­cency with men” .

There is also a long mid­dle sec­tion where Wilde’s lover Bosie (an ex­cel­lent Colin Mor­gan) joins him in Naples where they bicker and blow through the young aris­to­crat’s al­lowance.

Wilde fans will no doubt pore over ev­ery beau­ti­fully lit frame.

De­spite Everett’s bril­liant per­for­mance I am less con­vinced of Everett’s tal­ents as a writer and di­rec­tor. He is clearly out­raged by the in­jus­tice of Wilde’s fall from grace but never quite forges an emo­tional con­nec­tion with the au­di­ence. (Cert 15, 99mins) THIS en­gross­ing doc­u­men­tary takes us through the doors of Stu­dio 54, the al­most myth­i­cal New York night­club that was the ul­ti­mate celebrity hang­out of the late 1970s.

As di­rec­tor Matt Tyr­nauer re­veals, its me­te­oric rise was as much down to the queue out­side the club as what hap­pened on the dance­floor.

The club op­er­ated a bru­tal door pol­icy, turn­ing peo­ple away for not be­ing fa­mous or fash­ion­able enough, so there was al­ways a huge crowd out­side on the street, clam­our­ing to get in while news crews filmed them.

And the more ruth­less the bounc­ers be­came, the more peo­ple wanted to get in.

Tyr­nauer also sits down with Ian Schrager, one of the club’s two founders. His flam­boy­ant part­ner Steve Rubell died in 1989 so it falls to this self-con­fessed “in­tro­vert” to talk us through the club’s rise and fall.

What he re­veals feels more suited to a block­buster as the club’s event­ful 33-month reign in­volved drugs, in­trigue, de­bauch­ery, fraud and even the Mafia. Tyr­nauer never shies away from ask­ing the dif­fi­cult ques­tions and you feel Schrager has waited decades to get all of this off his chest. (Cert 15, 83mins) TI­MOTHY SPALL re­veals hid­den tal­ents and an un­ex­pected dark side in this bizarre in­die drama.

The film, co-writ­ten with di­rec­tor Stephen Cook­son, is a one-man show that Spall has de­scribed as a cross be­tween Kind Hearts And Coronets and Eraser­head.

Here Spall plays what ap­pears to be the sole in­mate in a psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal who hal­lu­ci­nates en­coun­ters with sev­eral icons of Bri­tish com­edy.

The make-up is ex­cel­lent but Spall’s im­pres­sions are a mixed bag. His Max Wall and Tony Han­cock are en­ter­tain­ing but Ge­orge Formby seems off-key.

Spall’s en­thu­si­as­tic turns aren’t enough to power a fea­ture film. With bet­ter jokes and a much tighter plot this might have been a less dif­fi­cult watch. (Cert 15, 118mins) THIS fas­ci­nat­ing Ital­ian drama ex­plores a Ro­mani com­mu­nity where a 14-year-old boy called Pio (Pio Amato) is des­per­ate to be­come head of the fam­ily af­ter his fa­ther and older brother are sent to jail for bur­glary.

Writer-di­rec­tor Jonas Carpig­nano is work­ing very much in the Ital­ian neo-re­al­ist tra­di­tion, us­ing am­a­teur ac­tors and shoot­ing in The Ci­ambra, the Ro­mani ghetto in Gioia Tauro in Cal­abria. He cap­tures a com­mu­nity in tran­si­tion where the no­madic life­style known to Pio’s grand­fa­ther is com­ing to an end and the Roma are ek­ing out a liv­ing as hired thieves for lo­cal crime lords.

The plot feels loose but the per­for­mances are mes­meris­ing.

WILDE AT HEART: Mor­gan and Everett star in The Happy Prince

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