Posts Tagged ‘ Karen Giilan ’

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013


Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013


Well that is it for another year then. The A-List stars have departed whilst the opening and closing galas provided a maelstrom of dramatic flourish, flamboyance and glamour to our usual grey days and the momentum of the event provided ceaseless conversations amongst the locals. Except none of the former really happened did it?

 In fact the whole event passed pretty much unnoticed to local residents- and even to me who was a participant- and if pushed for a comment many would even have failed to notice it was actually taking place. Matters weren’t even helped by the fact the weather was remarkably pleasant with sunshine days and warm balmy evenings being the norm. Compare and contrast with last year when it rained torrentially and incessantly.

 The ultimate disappointment though must lie in the choice of movies selected with few of the films making too much of an impression either way. If honest I must admit the best film I saw during the whole thing was the 1971 Richard Fleischer classic, shown as part of a retrospective, 10 Rillington Place starring a suitably creepy Richard Attenborough as serial killer John Christie. It was the only film among the many I attended that held the audience in its spell throughout with a tension which was palpable; a matter confirmed when at a crucial moment I tore my eyes away from the action to observe an almost trancelike state audience caught up in the drama. I witnessed nothing like this sort of effect at the many new films I attended.

Mind you this may be because I attended mainly press showings but everyone knows how cynical a group of film critics can be. I am not sure this still applies to the younger ones who appeared to be barely out of diapers but wore their miserabilist tendencies in plaid with carefully selected geek chic glasses.

 Of the new films premiered the best, in my opinion, were Svengali, The Great Hip Hop Hoax, Oh Boy, We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks and a Russian offering, Betrayal. The latter I haven’t got around to reviewing yet but it is an Almodovar styled film with the vivid colours and fiery passions replaced with Soviet chill to disorientating effect. The plot is highly implausible and relies on the viewer’s suspension of belief, but somehow this works to its advantage as opposed to its detriment.

 The opening film Breathe In starring Guy Pearce and the patriotic, set in Glasgow, closer Not Another Happy Ending with Karen Gillan were slightly underwhelming if the truth be told. As were the opening and closing parties which followed if I am being even more honest. In fact the best party I attended during the twelve day duration down as the most memorable film festival of recent times it is also not the most forgettable was nothing to do with the film festival but was held in an empty art studio with a bunch of non celebrities who could show the organisers of these stilted industry affairs how it should be done

 On the plus side the event was still a step in the right direction away from the low key efforts of 2011 which abandoned all parties and celebrity attendances. It also had the best and most consistent weather of any Scottish festival in recent years and perhaps this onslaught of sunshine distracted from the event as who wants to sit in a darkened cinema when it is sunny outside. Particularly to a nation as deprived of vitamin D as us Scots are.

 Now that it is all over however I must say that the best summary I can offer is that although 2013 will not go!


Not Another Happy Ending


Scottish based films and accents  are few and far between during the Edinburgh Film Festival so it was a pleasant surprise when it was announced that this years Festival closer was this independent Scottish rom-com directed by John Mc Kay featuring a strong Scottish cast and ably helped along by a soundtrack strongly featuring local talent. A pleasant breeze of a film it will not ruffle too many feathers and similarly to the opening effort-Breathe In- will come and go without making too much of an impression either way.

 The story focuses on an author Jane Lockhart( Karen Gillan) who strikes lucky with her first novel based on autobiographical experiences. The immediate attraction between her and her publisher, the suave but temperamental Tom Duval( Stanley Weber), is apparent from the get go but both are in denial and refuse to acknowledge their feelings for each other  instead entering into a terse and tumultuous working relationship.

 Despite this Jane is happy about the success of her novel but as a result discovers her pleasure has an unpleasant and inconvenient side effect: writer’s block. Matters are made worse in that she is planning to leave Tom’s publishing company as soon as the novel is completed but whilst the audience is aware that the reason she is reluctant to finish the work is that once it is done she has no reason to have any further contact with him, she seems ignorant to this obvious fact.

 Along the way a reunion with the father, who abandoned her as a child and who has contributed so much to the dearth of despair at her disposal and made her writing such a resounding success, is affected and this also adds confusion to her already confused and  emotional state.

 The whole plot is as fluffy as one of the cup cakes Gillan’s character makes in her bid to stifle her writer’s block and re-ignite her muse. It is a competent enough film with strong performances-Gillan is better than she has been before but as I have never been convinced of her acting prowess this is not as high a commendation as it initially appears- and a script which although predictable has a few tender moments. The soundtrack-including ‘Cherry Pie’ from Glasgow girl band favourites Teen Canteen- complements the action unfolding perfectly and the whole thing is a pleasant experience but it is also one which is not going to rock anyone’s world.