Sunday, 30 May 2010

Red Squirrel's Film Reviews. Parts 4 and 5.

This week's double special is:

The Ghost


Forgive me for a departure in my usual style, but we actually saw this film a few weeks ago at my suggestion. Based on the novel by Robert Harris (although I believe it goes by the name 'The Ghostwriter' in the US because apparently people there are considered too thick by the studios to not accidentally turn up to a horror film) of the same name, it's a taut political thriller.

I've always been a fan of Harris' written work (particularly Fatherland and Pompeii) but at times his adaptations have veered significantly from the essence of the source material (Enigma, for example) and sadly the same is true with The Ghost.

The final twist is subverted and made into a ridiculously over-the-top dramatic invention for no real reason - because frankly if you hadn't worked out the 'twist' by then due to some serious over-acting by certain cast members then you were a bit dim. The 'reveal' scene is faithfully done from the book but lacks any reason for the main character's motivation due to the acting of Ewan McGregor who does a fantastic 'puzzled and baffled' but that's about it. He's our Ben Affleck, if you will.

The film was shot against the backdrop of the director's impending extradition to the US, and despite being supportive of many of his previous works (films this is, not the forced sodomy of 13 year old girls), this one seemed lazy. For example, every shot in London featured an old Routemaster double-decker bus. Now they run on two heritage routes only and have done for years, so to use them smacked of bored corner cutting. They may as well have just done a stock photo of Big Ben with 'London, England' captioned underneath it.

Overall, disappointing.

Four Lions


A film that will almost certainly never be released in the US, it is nonetheless the funniest film I've seen in the last ten years. Scripted in part by Chris Morris (author of the fabulous satire Brass Eye with its Paedogeddon special) it's a brilliant film about four wanna-be suicide bombers from Sheffield.

Part pant-wettingly hilarious comedy, it's also deeply moving and touching in places. If you don't think there's comedy to be had in terrorism then this film isn't for you, but if you appreciate cynical, dry humour then you'll have an absolute hoot.

Don't watch the trailer btw, as it gives too much away. Instead, here's a clip that gives you some idea of the tone. I can honestly say that if you miss this film, you miss a small sliver of joy and happiness in this otherwise deeply crap world.


Madame DeFarge said...

You've made my mind up to see the second and not the first. Hurrah!

Red Squirrel said...

Madame DeFarge - I hope you enjoy it :)