Monday, 17 May 2010

Your Man In Cannes - Day 4

Another early start and this time it was the UK's only hope of winning the Palme D'Or (until Ken Loach sneaked in at the last minute).

Now this is more like it, this is what I came to Cannes for, an actual great film that has some award potential.
You never expect to see car chases or gun fights in a Mike Leigh film, because the focus is always on the characters.
By working with a minimal plot and weeks spent on rehearsals to develop them, the result is the actors bring to life fully realised and 3 dimensional characters - the closest Mike Leigh will ever get to making a 3D movie!
Seperated into four chapters or seasons, the film looks at married couple Tom and Gerri, yes it got a big laugh in the auditorium here as well, and their relationships with their son and friends. Like I said the story unfolds from the characters rather than an external plot.
At times this film is as happy as HAPPY-GO-LUCKY and at others, as dour and depressing as VERA DRAKE.
Perhaps a slight critique by Leigh on modern society but the saddest characters are those who are constanly seen consuming alcohol.
Performances are strong throughout but the standout here is Lesley Manville. Her character Mary is outwardly very bright and bubbly but this mask soon gives way to a deep rooted insecurity about herself. She must be an early contender for the Best Actress award at the festival and I would bet good money that you will see her name among the Best Supporting Actress nominations come early 2011.

A solid Korean drama that is unfortunately let down by a frankly ridiculous final 5 minutes.
For the most part the film is a well acted drama about a young girl who goes to work for a rich businessman and his pregnant wife. Things become complicated when she has an affair with her boss and becomes pregnant. Pressured to have an abortion, the film moves into darker territory and settles in FATAL ATTRACTION mode.
Screening wasn't helped by the film's slow pace and my tiredness from lack of sleep causing my eyes to droop every now and again but for me the ending was a huge problem, as it was not in keeping with the rest of the film and the actions of the girl were out of character.
Expect a release over here as it will play to the crowd that liked IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE and probably the J-Horror crowd as well.

Woody, Woody, Woody... please stop making films in London. MATCH POINT, SCOOP, CASSANDRA'S DREAM were all poor. This new one is no exception.
It can't be coincidence that Allen's best films are the ones set in New York and/or star himself rather than having someone else play him (it's Josh Brolin doing it in this film).
It came across as a bad British romantic comedy instead of a Woody Allen film. For a supposed comedy it was so devoid of laughs I'm not sure if it even registered a smile on my face for the entire 98 minute running time.

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