FILMS 2011

The Skin I Live In


This return to form from Pedro Almodovar-2009’s Broken Embraces was competent enough though was more a detailed study of the director’s obsession with Penelope Cruz-is a film that certainly ranks amongst the years finest. Touching on issues of sexual identity, gender, and identity theft it is a heady cocktail that only a director of Almodovar’s skill and ability could hope to pull off successfully. The usual qualities you would expect-the vibrant, threatening, luscious and sensual colours- from a director of his calibre are in place from the outset and the plot whilst initially convoluted pulls itself together to form a cohesive and admittedly macabre whole wherein the characters different stories become inextricably linked with its audience’s consciousness. Featuring the first appearance in an Almodovar film since 1991’s Tie Me Up Tie Me Down it is clear that the twenty years and a Hollywood career  has not dulled either of these two protagonists sensibilities during the interim. In fact Banderas-like Cruz- always works better when working in his native language and sizzles and convinces in a way his Hollywood roles never delivered. He is also, in his early fifties, starting to physically resemble both a Latino Cary Grant and Sean Connery as James Bond, but in a good way.

The plot unfolds to reveal a brilliant surgeon Ledgard who is a pioneer in his field but is also slightly unhinged and close to full on mental collapse. An accident involving the death of his former wife hangs heavy throughout the film and his emotionally unstable daughter fills an unhealthy void in his emotional make up. After his daughter’s supposed rape Ledgard’s unhealthy obsessions take an increasingly sinister turn first in kidnapping her perpetrator and subsequently moulding her into the woman of his fantasies. In between the audience is taken on an emotional journey wherein sexual, emotional and gender issues are shown to be increasingly complex and simplistic simultaneously. It is testament to Almodovar’s film making skills and the performances of his expertly assembled cast that the film is as successful as it is as in less capable hands the scenarios that are played out would be highly implausible.

It is simply beautiful to behold visually throughout as is the case with most of Almodovar’s work. Luscious deep reds- something about an Almodovar movie always makes me want to go home raid my fruit bowl and chop tomatoes, blood oranges and exotic fruits immediately so dripping with lust are the scenes he incorporates- compete with vibrant yellows and oranges to create a dizzying effect that simply oozes sensuality from the screen affording it an almost 3d effect.

As stated before this film ranks amongst the finest of the year and although an adaptation of Thierry Jonquet’s novel Tarantula it stands alone as a work with its own merits. Accusations of absurdist drama often accompany Almodovar’s films but this is also what makes them so appealing and places them in a genre of their own whilst bestowing them with a sense of longevity alongside their individuality.

The Guard

by David Marren

Brendan Gleeson as the self appointed ‘last of the independents’ Sgt Gerry Doyle in Jon Michael Donagh’s ‘The Guard’ is a superb piece of casting in a strong dark comedy that is captivating throughout. Unconventional, challenging, non-PC –in extremis- Doyle is a rookie member of Galway’s Garda  who utilises the fact that outsiders don’t take him seriously or accord him due credit to his own advantage. Constantly challenging accepted notions and proper channels of procedure he proceeds to stay one step ahead of his colleagues and opponents throughout the duration of this well scripted and impeccably acted film. Alongside this his penchant for hedonism- prostitutes, pill popping and acid dropping are among his many vices- contrasts neatly with his apparent love for his cancer ridden mother who is dying provides some of the films more tender moments providing an antidote to the fast pace of the action that dominates as well as giving an insight and depth to the character that may not have otherwise been apparent.

The drama starts to unfold when a murder takes place and a member of the FBI, Wendell Everett- a well partnered Don Cheadle- arrives as it is connected to an international drug ring who plan on shipping in drugs with a street value of half a billion dollars. At a strategy meeting Doyle enquires just whose street the drugs are to be sold on as it is never the one that he buys his drugs on. This immediately causes friction between him and Everett and creates a situation that is only exacerbated by Doyle’s overtly racist remarks and references to FBI shooting innocent children. The partnership between these two different styles of policing is brilliantly handled as it is Everett’s softly- softly right on approach that appears flaccid and ineffective in comparison to Doyle’s straight talking bigoted rants. It is played for great comic effect and the audience is in on the joke that the tough talking Irish policeman knows exactly how to play the game and get the right results instantaneously. This results in a highly skilled caper that has many plot twists and turns culminating in a highly improbable shootout, complete with spaghetti western soundtrack, that is expertly handled.

Although ‘The Guard’ is essentially a vehicle for Gleeson he is admirably supported by a strong cast including Mark Strong as a hard drug dealer that you would not want to come up against in a dark alley- or a well lit one for that matter and a comical encounter with two prostitutes. The scenes between Doyle and his mother are also extremely moving and funny simultaneously and act as a neat counterpoint to the narrative. In fact it is the character development that raises the quality of this film as it encourages you to care about even those who only play a minor role in the overall structure. It is a film that succeeds on many different levels and the outcome leaves you with a knowing smile on your face.

CALVET


by David Marren

 Jean Marc Calvet purges his soul in this outstanding documentary directed by Dominic Allan. It is a fine piece of work that is ultimately an auto-biographical feature and acts as a form of catharsis for Calvet to relate his past transgressions as the director made the brave and justified decision not to include contributions from any other interviewees. What the audience is then left with is Calvet’s own explanations into what drives his artistic creativity and how his chequered and vividly coloured past   – drug addiction, rape, theft, a spell in the Foreign Legion and a period working as a rent boy-  informs his intricate and often disturbing work. Allan also manages to capture intimate and genuinely compelling moments as Calvet attempts some form of rapprochement with his eighteen year old son whom he abandoned twelve years previously. It is this part of the film that adds yet another dimension to an already fascinating portrait as the viewer is left in as much doubt as Calvet himself as to how this situation will pan out.

Opening with shots of Calvet’s art work – all demonic swirls and complex detail juxtaposed with vivid colour palettes- Calvet begins his tale in earnest. Stories range from the time he had to leave Miami tout de suite after defrauding 600,000 dollars to his brutal rape in a public toilet are di rigeur in this tale of an artist who had to sink to the lowliest depths of the demi-monde before reaping some form of salvation and ultimately redemption in the form of his art. His art in many ways resembles this film as he purges his soul in front of the omnipresent camera capturing him visually spewing forth over a canvas in a violent outpouring of emotion. Comparisons have been made as regards to Jackson Pollock but I also detected a definite Keith Haring influence. The sentiments and the demons are all Calvet’s own however as is this film which allows Calvet to share his story and in doing so garner a sense of relief and a clearer purpose in how he intends to pursue his future. Calvet allows uninhibited acces into many private moments and unlike many films of this genre which attempt to do this there is something about this particular effort that feels genuine. Perhaps Calvet’s contriteness and willingness to apologise and try to redeem past mistakes go a long way to gaining the audience’s support and you would have to be stone hearted not to want him to succeed.

At the conclusion of the film a certain sense of a clearer future looks set for Calvet. A recent New York show saw his paintings being valued at six figure numbers. Personally he seems to have reached a sense of stability also and how this will affect his work in the future is unclear. What is clear however is that Calvet makes an outstanding, intriguing and sympathetic  source of subject matter and he and Allan should be proud in delivering this document which details an artist who could be to the art world what Jean Genet was to the literary world.

Bobby Fischer Against the World

by David Marren

 This documentary by Liz Garbus on former world chess champion Bobby Fischer is a fascinating insight into how the worlds most popular board game managed to exacerbate existing conflict between the U.S and the Soviet Union as well as turn a child genius into a ranting socially inept exile resembling a Howard Hughes type figure. Fischer’s ranting mainly directed toward the United States and in many ways the film documents how a child protégé is manipulated and coerced for the sake of the country. A particularly telling scene occurs during an interview wherein the 15 year old Fischer has a haunted, fearful look in his eyes that show that already his life is spiralling out of control. It is a look more often associated with children within the entertainment industry- think Judy Garland, Michael Jackson and Britney Spears. It is a look that says there may be trouble ahead and validates the claim that America does not so much eat its young but chews them up and then spits them out.

With most of the events documented focussing on the 1972 world championship and the lead up dramas it is a fascinating document of a time when the Cold War was still very much in existence with the Americans and Russians constantly pitted against each other. Having only recently lost in the space race- the U.S. moon landing of 1969- the Russians were determined that they would retain the title of world chess champions an area they  up to that point held supremacy and were largely unbeaten in. The general consensus at the time was that the Soviet Union held intellectual sway over the decadent west as represented by the U.S.  Positioning Fischer against reigning world champion Boris Spassky was a risk they were willing to take but the occasion was fraught with delays, uncertainty and even accusations of Spassky being radiated by Fischer. It was a tournament that raised the profile of chess and helped it to become hugely popular, a position it retains to this day.

None of this was beneficial to Fischer’s psyche however as at the grand age of 29 he had already achieved his lifelong ambition but had not yet lived a life. Nor, it would seem, did he know how to. Tortured by his own genius he became increasingly erratic and at one point was even exiled from the U.S. for breaking an embargo. The portrait that emerges in his later years is that of a man racked with bitterness, no social skills and even extreme mental health problems. It was a sad end for a man whose genius had raised the level and profile of a game that has been in existence since the 6th century. Despite this it is hard to feel any sympathy for a man so driven with his ambition that in order to distance himself from his past he became an outspoken anti-Semite despite being Jewish himself. It was, in effect, a sad end to a sad life.


Jitters

by David Marren

 This charming coming of age Icelandic film from Baldvin C is am impressive effort that manages to address many issues and complexities that lie at the core of teenage life whilst re-iterating that sometimes adulthood is littered with as many problems and that growing up is not exclusively for the young as many of the adults in this film are deeply flawed also. Centring around the reliable and put upon Gabriel- a stand out performance from  Atli Oskar Fjalarson- who lives with his divorced domineering and over protective mother and operates as a fix it man for all his close friends troubled lives. Things alter radically for Gabriel when he embarks on a school ltrip to Manchester and meets what initially appears his polar opposite, the confident street wise Markus, and an intimate relationship is formed and changes both boys lives forever.

The story continues back in Iceland where Gabriel tries to sort out the minefield of his friends convoluted situations whilst still unsure about what to do concerning his own situation whilst trying to establish his own sexual identity. It is a tentative performance that perfectly captures the hesitancy that surrounds his mixed emotions. Mixed messages from Markus who is not so confident around Gabriel on home turf does nothing to assuage the situation. The situation with his mother only helps to exacerbate a tense situation whilst the complications of his friends loves and lives end in tragedy.

The interesting thing about this film is that it could easily have degenerated into a more erudite version of ‘Skins’ that it doesn’t is down to the fact that the characters are actually quite likeable rather than the vile nature more readily associated with the British teen drama. Each character is allowed space to grow and show some insight into what makes them tick. The adults meanwhile are not merely there as complaining authoritarian figures- though divisions arise whenever they try to exert authority- but reveal themselves to be as messed up-in some cases more so- that the teenagers they are supposedly lending guidance to.

Although squarely aimed at the teenage market ‘Jitters ‘ is an enjoyable film for any age group that doesn’t insult the intelligence of anyone. A totally assured film that succinctly captures a difficult period of growing up when feeling assured is not always the most dominant emotion.

Perfect Sense

by David Marren

Despite a promising start in ‘ Shallow Grave’ and ‘Trainspotting’ –as well as a guilty pleasure in ‘Moulin Rouge’- I have always found Ewan McGregor very often fails to convince as a credible actor. In ‘Perfect Sense ‘ however he manages to turn in a convincing performance as Michael a talented chef who embarks on a turbulent affair with Susan –an also credible Eva Green- an epidemiologist living next door to his restaurant. What is unfortunate is that the material they are given to work with is not consistent with the high level of the performances on show.

With an international epidemic laying siege on the world’s population it derives that people are losing their senses one by one. There is no discernible reason or cure for this and each occurrence is preceded by some unrelated form of emotional upheaval. The first indication that anything is wrong is an outpouring of uncontrollable grief. After this subsides it is discovered that the victim is no longer in possession of their sense of smell. After this a savage hunger that results in near cannibalism gives way to the loss of taste. This continues working its way through sound and sight and there appears that nothing can be done to stop this rapid deterioration of the human body’s functions and senses. In the centre of this Michael and Susan are drawn together and ripped apart and embark on a relationship that is tumultuous at best and extremely aggressive at worst. What really causes this films narrative to falter is that the relationship between the two protagonists simply fails to deliver any credibility. It is never made clear if they have genuine emotions for each other or whether they have been thrown together through circumstance and are inextricably entangled due to a previous inability in forming substantial committed relationships as both come across as strident and ultimately quite brittle..

It is not a film without merit however as Director David Mackenzie –who also directed McGregor in ‘Young Adam’- never allows the pace to falter and whilst the performances from the central pair are strong they are more than ably supported by the rest of the cast. Ewan Bremner is on top form as Michael’s colleague James- also a reunion of sorts between McGregor and Bremner who appeared together in ‘Trainspotting- and the cinematography captures the grey bleakness of Glasgow perfectly. One scene that shows a devastated street after a bout of carnage could have been filmed on any Saturday night in the city centre.

It is hard to say what themes the film is trying to articulate but I feel that the narrative is trying to draw attention to the fact that humans take their senses for granted. As each loss is preceded and followed by primal urges- grief, hunger, rage and violence- it becomes clear that these emotions are only aroused when we have something taken from us that we feel we are entitled to. Mackenzie does a fine job in translating the themes of the film it is just unfortunate that the characters are not well developed enough to totally convince and this renders the overall effect as being slightly underwhelming.

The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye

 by David Marren

 Genesis P-Orridge has been a fringe figure on the avant-garde circuit since 1967 in various guises. First making exploratory soundscapes launched with the declamatory announcement ‘we say nothing because we have nothing to say’ he made intriguing forays into collages that merged sound and visuals, esoteric ventures into industrial sound ,the formation of the Temple of Psychic Youth  as well as acquiring an unhealthy fascination for the former Rolling Stone Brian Jones along the way.  He is a quintessential eccentric artist who knows no boundaries other than the ones he creates simply to push forward as is exemplified by his claim that ‘Every one of us is telling the truth all of the time’ then ultimately concluding ‘well times change’. This fascinating documentary by Marie Losier focuses on his relationship with his personal and artistic partner Lady Jaye- who sadly passed away in 2007- and their endeavours of merging their two persons into one through clothing, wigs and eventually plastic surgery. It is a process that P-Orridge refers to as pandrogyny and creates a thoughtful insight into un-chartered territories with its central figure lending the proceedings an arresting argument for his right to be what he wants to be.

The interesting thing about this documentary is how P-Orridge’s individuality and desire to be a relentless individual in a faceless multitude emerges through his exploratory ventures into various art forms but on meeting Lady Jaye he surrenders this uniqueness by merging his features and ideologies with the person he claims is his spiritual, mental and physical equal. It is certainly an extreme process that he likens – along with the rest of his work- as emanating from the William Burroughs and Brion Gysin cut up methods. This is a method where collages are formed by splicing together unique components to create a whole new meaning not otherwise apparent and popularised by David Bowie in the 1970’s as a means of lyric writing. It emerges in this film that P-Orridge had a longstanding friendship with Gysin gaining both his confidence and respect and this informs most of his work extensively most especially the means of using his own corporeal form as a means of cutting and pasting.

Throughout the film we see Psychic TV tour and perform though P-Orridge now claims that this is in the past and he is done with being in a rock band. He now wishes to concentrate on presenting his art and writings through performances in galleries and through his books. It is a riveting documentary for anyone who has been familiar with any aspects of P-Orridge’s work over the last few decades. It is unlikely that he will ever achieve main stream success and this is probably anathema to him anyhow. Out on the fringes pushing the boundaries is where he is happiest. P-Orridge is the kind of artist who is indelibly British and is considered something of an eccentric figure or even weirdo although those who are prepared to prostitute themselves on shows such as X-Factor or Britain’s Got Delusions-sorry Talent- are the ones that come across as the real weirdoes to me. P-Orridge is a one off and true original and I, for one, am glad he is there.

The Bang Bang Club

by David Marren

 

The moral ambiguities of photo journalism epitomised in Steven Silver’s’ ‘The Bang Bang Club’ is a subject shrouded in differing perspectives. On one hand the plight of those suffering has every right to be broadcast around the world but at what price. The price that a picture can sell for to the highest bidder or to the cost of human life as the photographer clicks away in his attempts to capture the perfect photo not lifting a finger to help, a fellow human being dying or being murdered merely inches away. Featuring stand out performances from Ryan Phillippe and Taylor Kitsch- a sort of Jagger and Richards with cameras- ‘The Bang Bang Club’ wisely makes no strong attempt to answer the questions the film raises in much the same way the moral dilemmas of the photographers are similarly smudged.

Based on the memoirs of Joan Silva and Greg Marinovich the two surviving members of the quartet at the centre of this drama- Kevin Carter and Ken Oosterbroek- is a cautionary tale of how your desire to succeed whilst documenting another’s misfortune can have serious ramifications. Carter committed suicide brought on by heavy drug use and an inability to reconcile his actions with his conscience whilst Oosterbroek’s character was killed in a shootout that he was trying to capture on film. The acquisition of two Pulitzer prize winning photos are shown and the photographers reaction to how their photos are received. Marinovich’s winner showing a man being burnt to death show him and his comrades celebrating in a drunken frenzy on realizing how much money will be made in Reuters, the human flame at the centre of the photo a distant memory in the drunken revelry. Carter’s winner showing a child about to be attacked by a vulture faces harsh criticism when it is revealed that he simply took his shot and then abandoned the girl to her plight. Symbolically he captured his prey in the guise of a human vulture armed with a camera.

It is thus difficult to garner much sympathy for the characters in this film as their ambition is as weighty as the need to provide an insight into injustice and famine. Whilst they may be merely providing a documentation they are occasionally on hand to offer assistance but very rarely do. It is nonetheless an engaging film although to position the photographers with gunslinger kudos is perhaps misguided as it lends a serious topic a bit of rock and roll credo which is slightly undeserved. Admittedly these photographers do put themselves on the front line –Marinovich has been shot four times whilst Silva had his limbs blown off- and the service they provide in drawing attention to situations is inestimable but the price and the cost is high in many different ways to all concerned.


Talihina Sky

by David Marren

 Having been fortunate enough to have seen Kings of Leon when they still played intimate venues around the time of debut album ‘Youth and Young Manhood’ and watched the band grow from young upstarts to international megastars playing arenas and stadiums this documentary was one I was looking forward to. Based on the yearly pilgrimage that the four band members-three brothers and one cousin- make home to Oklahoma to reconnect with family members, old friends and rivals it makes for an interesting insight into one of the biggest bands on the planet at the moment featuring footage from every stage of their career. Unfortunately much of the material shot during the recording of the debut that caught the ear of a generation was stolen so documentation of that era in particular is slighter than it should be. This is unfortunate as the period when a band is on the cusp of stardom usually provides the most interesting aspects of a bands career as they are having to constantly re-evaluate everything in their lives as they are caught up in the whirlwind of encroaching fame.

What is left, however, is still more than adequate and we are introduced to the bands grandparents- including Granddad Leon who provides the band with their name- and childhood friends and neighbouring rivals. It emerges that the Followills were always a close knit family and inviting outsiders to join the core of the band was unquestionable from the beginning. Raised in a spiritual background where rock and roll was considered the devil’s music they had to go some way to convincing their parents that forming a band was the right thing to do. Despite all their subsequent success the three brothers’ father still admits that he finds it hard to be proud of what they do even though he is proud of what they have done in consolidating financial security and an escape from the poverty of their upbringing.

Financial matters are perhaps what drive the current incarnation of the band. Many feel that they reached an artistic, commercial and critical peak with 2008’s ‘Only by the Night’ and their last offering was dull, uninspired and treading water. Accusations of arrogance and taking themselves too seriously have also plagued the band and the rise to stadiums and arenas meant that any intimacy they had with their original audience has all but dissipated. It is unfortunate as this film shows the transition isn’t always smooth – an early live version of ‘Molly’s Chambers’ is inter-cut with a more recent version with the earlier version trashing the latter in every respect- and due to the fact the band may have already peaked this film acts more as a retrospective than a relevant document.

Fast Romance

by David Marren

 

A light-hearted romp through the perils and delights of speed dating ‘Fast Romance’ lives up to it’s name and is a fast paced enjoyable piece of hokum. Set in Glasgow and directed by Carter Ferguson it is essentially an ensemble piece involving seven principal characters whose lives are stories are entwined and entangled after a speed dating evening that has consequences and provides life-changing realisations for those involved. The success of this film lies in the sympathetic characters and their portrayal by actors who clearly have enjoyed themselves in the making of the film and this rubs off on the audience who can empathise with their plights whilst willing them into a future suffused with happiness. But the path of true love never runs smoothly and the characters in the film are no exception as the audience accompany them on their travails whilst laughing out loud on several occasions along the way

As stated previously it is the strong characterisation that helps this film to set itself apart from others in the overcrowded rom-com genre. In fact to call this a rom-com is perhaps something of an injustice as it is as likely to appeal to a male audience as a female one. Whether it is a lovelorn Nadine – whose family are desperate for her to get married to be just like them – or Kenny Cairns- who after his divorce has devoted himself to looking after his cancer stricken mother and dressing as a clown to entertain children with cancer- each character has something likeable and worthy about them. A back story into what drives each character is also attempted and in the main is successful in its objectives. The friendship that develops between Cairns and his workmate Gordy is particularly touching, frank and genuine. Similarly the audience is aware before the cast that the characters they meet at the speed dating event are not everything they claim or seem to be. The Mr. Perfect- Elliot- is obviously a flaky type who has no grounding or committal instincts whatsoever whilst Spence masquerading as a detective is so obviously from the off a slime-ball practised in the art of deception. As the worlds of the protagonists create entanglements the audience are rooting for, the pace never lets up and the humour is witty without ever reaching raucous territory.

As a representation of the genre ‘Fast Romance ‘is extremely successful film that is highly enjoyable as well as likeable. The mainly Scottish cast- at times it seems to provide a rest home for previous River City habitués- gel well and have chemistry. Although the holes in the plot wouldn’t withstand too much scrutiny and the film as a whole has an insubstantial feel the whole thing rolls along at its own pace providing a smooth and enjoyable ride.

Phase 7

by David Marren

 

Many of us have had trouble with our neighbours at some point but the main protagonists in Argentinian film ‘Phase 7’ Coco (Daniel Hendler) and his heavily pregnant wife Pipi (Jazmin Stuart) have more to worry about than most. Directed by Nicolas Goldbart the action centres on an apartment block that has been quarantined due to the outbreak of a deadly epidemic that wipes out everyone that contracts it and the suspicions and paranoia that occur due to this. The situation breeds more than deathly germs however as one of their neighbours adopts the role of avenging angel and decides to prevent himself from contracting the disease by dispensing with all of his neighbours.

After a pleasant enough start and mild character development the film slips into a dark genre parody that mainly involves the residents of the apartment block turning to each other for support then splitting into subdivisions and ultimately every individual out solely to protect themselves-or in Coco’s case  his wife and unborn child. At this juncture the film more or less slips into a gore fest meets shoot out after shoot out. Many influences prevail with Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien’, James Cameron’s ‘Terminator’ and Danny Boyle’s ’28 Hours Later’ being among the more obvious reference points. It is a film that plays on the audience’s knowledge of these films and handles the action sequences more than admirably although I found  the shooting sequences dragging  a little  and there simply wasn’t enough there to hold my interest beyond this. Aside from the two central characters none of the other roles were developed well enough for you to care what happened to them. Moments of humour were peppered throughout although some were too subtle for many to spot. I particularly thought the scene when Coco removed his quarantine suit after a marauding rampage to reveal a tee shirt that read ‘Shoot First’ was a particular clever piece of irony that may have eluded many in the audience.

As a parody of its genre ‘Phase 7’ is highly successful but I just feel that it could have easily handled more dialogue and interaction-other than just the killing and maiming- between the lesser characters. It was however a film that succeeded in its aims even if they were slightly limited and unlikely to attract any new converts to the genre.

Ghosted

by David Marren

 

This gritty drama directed by Craig Viveiros has been compared to ‘Scum ‘ but is in fact closer, in execution and tension, to French director Jacques Audiard’s ‘ A Prophet’. That it doesn’t reach the pinnacles of success of the French movie is down to the impossibly high bar that this film raised. It is however a valiant attempt and deserves to be judged on its own merits with several stunning performances- the central triumvirate portrayed by John Lynch, Craig Parkinson and Martin Compston create a dynamic with palpable tension-and a greyish colour palette that more than adequately conveys the sense of the despair and depravity at the core of the prisoners ordeals.

The arrival of Paul( Compston) in  a prison wing brings tensions to a head between contrite Jack(Lynch) and the more ruthless Clay (Parkinson). With Clay believing his position as top dog of the wing is established after an incident involving Paul he finds his once unquestioned superiority  slipping from his grasp. Paul is transferred into Jack’s cell and a bond of trust is established with the older man feeling highly protective towards the younger boy. Things are not totally how they initially appear however and revelations are revealed whilst the drama escalates culminating in an unexpected scene of extreme violence with a horrific outcome. Secrets never remain secret for long in prison and fate conspires to create a situation of intensity that is as surprising as it is horrific.

The handling of the subject matter in’ Ghosted’ is very well handled and if the narrative falters on the believable scale with the revelations that are revealed- the co-incidence versus fate theory was unconvincing and simply not plausible in my estimation- the dialogue and performances are mainly without reproach. Although it does not reach the lofty peaks of its French fore bearer it is a welcome addition to British cinema even if its outlook and premise may be a little too bleak for a mainstream audience it should not deter anyone looking for gritty realism. With ‘Ghosted’ Viveiros has created a haunting drama with a chilling outcome.


 

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