Review: Godspeed (Yi Lu Shun Feng), EIFF 2017

I settled down for Godspeed not really knowing what to expect. The only image I’d seen was of two men cramped into the boot of a car holding a rubber duck and that was enough to sell it to me. It was therefore a little surprising for it to open with a man being restrained with garden sheers around his throat.

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Review: Amok, EIFF 2017

When Edinburgh International Film Festival point out in the brochure that a film “Contains distressing scenes of graphic violence” I consider that a fair warning for what I am about to watch. Amok is a 90s drenched crime jigsaw that I feel lazily drawn to compare with Hannibal or maybe David Fincher’s Se7en, except imagine that Kevin Spacey’s killer turned up at the very start and helped with the investigation.

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Review: Okja, EIFF 2017

Having been a fan of Bong Joon-ho since seeing his multi-genre creature feature The Host all the way back in 2006 I’ve enjoyed all of his work since so when I heard he was working with Jon Ronson on a screenplay for his new film I was sold on it immediately. While the film has been rightly celebrated, the issue of streaming has overshadowed a lot of the conversation. The film has been bought by Netflix and was released yesterday. At the Edinburgh International Film Festival perhaps the strangest moment of the film was when the film started and the Netflix theme and logo plays. Many in the audience let out a minor chuckle – when you watch it at home this will be less surprising of course – but it was weird to see something so familiar from your home viewing on the big screen. In Cannes the logo was booed as Netflix has been judged to be an enemy of cinema – which I think is pretty ironic considering watching a film with a Cannes audience has to be worse than watching it as a pixelated avi on a mobile phone while riding on a bus.

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Review: Sweet Virginia, EIFF 2017

Having been a huge fan of Jon Bernthal from first seeing him be that righteous dark horse Shane in The Walking Dead and the fantastic Punisher in Daredevil as well as lots of other smaller roles I was interested to see him cast as the lead in Jamie M. Dagg’s new film. Here, he is less of a dominating presence showing a vulnerable side and playing against type. It’s impressive to see an actor play down their size as we see him be emasculated verbally by hotel guests or on the losing side of brawls.

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