Monday, October 16, 2017

imagineNATIVE 17 FILM REVIEW - WARU

The dark corners of Maori society are prodded, probed and laid bare in the multi directed Waru. The linking element is the death of a young boy at the hands of a caregiver. The split is that the action is told by eight different female directors covering the same 10 minute period from a different direction. The shooting style of a one shot take that is evident in all of the segments is best presented in the first segment that focuses on the family Auntie as she runs a military style kitchen preparing food for the mourners. She finds the Waru's mother sobbing in a storage room delivering to her tough talk enabling her to stand and somewhat compose herself.  The two weaker sections focus on the child's kindergarden teacher Anahera (Roimata Fox) who's trying to explain the situation to Waru's classmates while juggling a workplace affair. The other the media reaction directed by Chelsea Cohen giving the majority reaction to the Maori problem through the slow burning eyes of a Maori anchorwoman.


The common elements help the production establish and keep cohesion. Drue Sturge serves as cinematographer using blown out grainy natural elements in most of the vignettes except for the sterility of the television studio scene another reason why that passage sticks out from the rest. The action all takes place at 10 AM in all sections plus the commitment to a one shot take that is also common amongst the films.

Two of the stronger segments point a finger at the failure of male authority figure in the community. In one directed by Paula Jones a young woman backed by her mates takes up makeshift arms against her male abuser. In the other helmed by Awanui Simich-Pene two sisters Titty and Bash head to a male dominated drinking hole to take back what's hers. Both of these sessions end at the moment things are about to escalate. The gaze back by Bash (Miriama McDowell) to the camera as she is about to enter the breach is the harrowing moment of the film.

The potential standout portion centres on the funeral (tangi) for the young boy. Both grandmothers adorned in green spar for the fate of the body. Renae Maihi's camera weaves between the two like a third character as the matriarchs try to settle the dispute. When the body is finally carried out to a waiting vehicle. The sobbing mom appears from the first scene to play a part in the fate of her child.

Waru is a powerful story told by voices that are not often heard in greater society. The content is somber as base feelings including grief, remorse, anger and guilt are explored throughout alongside the underlying question of how can this pattern be stopped from happening again? The well-trained lenses sharply deliver their snippets that despite needing a bit of tuning in a couple of instances make it a story I can definitely recommend.

*** 1/2 Out of 4.

Waru | Renae Maihi / Awanui Simich-Pene/ plus 6 others | New Zealand | 88 Minutes.

Tags: Maori, Abuse, Waru, Tangi, Funeral, Dragons, Gas, TV Station, Female Directors, One Take, Spare Key.

TAD17 Film Review - Rabbit

Michael Darren's score is the first think that hits you from Luke Shanahan's Rabbit. It announces loudly that chilling events will follow with its mix of classical instruments and high pitched tech beats leadings one's mind to anticipate violence pain and suffering. In the opening frames we see a young girl in two different settings attempting to escape something terrifying. As the narrative begins it's explained that Maude (Adelaide Clemens) who is staying medicine in Germany has a twin sister also played by Clemens who had disappeared over a year ago. Since her sister Cleo has gone missing Maude has these dreams that appear to be Cleo's experiences or an attempt to tell Maude where she is. One day while studying a cadaver for class Maude becomes agitated seemingly needing to get some air then collapses. After this event she returns home to Australia determined to find her sister.


The next part of the narrative looses the frenzied quick opening replacing it with an expositional heavy slow trot. Maude's parents are introduced along with her sister's fiancee Ralph (Alex Russell) who's been helping out at the house. There is tension there as her parents had a funeral for Cleo which Maude did not attend while the local now on leave police detective who was consumed with the case Henry (Jonny Pasvolsky) still feels that Ralph had something to do with the death.

The action quickens when Maude follows her visions out to a Caravan full of American Horror Story types with Ralph and Henry in tow. Here cinematographer Anna Howard shines as her lens illuminates the southern Australian palate regardless if the sun or moon is at a highpoint in the sky. Maude tries to put substance to her dreams trying to determine if they are a path to Cleo. Amongst the fringe they meet a normal couple a German trained doctor Nerida (Veele Baetens) and her husband Keith (Charles Mayer) From there the story moves to one last port of call a sterile yet ominous Victorian Mansion which doubles as a medical facility appearing to be the spot where Maude's dreams and the bits and pieces she's picked up along the way will lead her to answers.

Rabbit is a psychological thriller that has several compelling elements but just does not seem to get to the juicy centre. The score overwhelms leaving a lot for the story to colour in. It's a beautiful looking landscape with an ensemble cast that supports the material. However, several passages require more bite to bring the entire project up to the level of the visual and auditory elements of the piece.

** 1/2 Out of 4

Rabbit | Luke Shanahan | Australia | 2017 | 103 Minutes.

Tags:  Disappearance, Twins, Medical School, Caravan, Forest, Southern Australia, Hide n Seek, Experiments.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Kinosmith Film Review - 78/52

78 pieces of film from Alfred Hitchcock and 52 cuts from editor George Tomasini throw in the chilling score from Bernard Herrman, a helping of Hershey's chocolate syrup and you have the essence of the shower scene from Psycho. Director Alexandre O. Phillipe has put together the all encompassing detailed frame by frame analysis of the film with a band of the films aficionados interviewed in a setting similar to the Bates motel to provide their thoughts. The discussion looks at the US in the time before the film juxtaposed with what was to come after, Political Assassinations, Civil Rights, Women's Rights, Vietnam and Protest. The participants point to three films Some Like It Hot, Anatomy of a Murder and Suddenly Last Summer that began to push new boundaries. Where these films pushed, Psycho smashed leaving many wondering how Hitchcock got away with what he put on the screen.

No stone is left unturned. Marli Renfro who was Janet Leigh's body double for the scene features heavily in the production. She answered an ad for the role, stripping down for Hitchcock then again for Janet Leigh before getting the gig a couple of days later. Renfro talks about prop difficulties on set to that fact that she was hired for a couple of days work that turned into a week. Hitchcock in fact shot the scene entirely separate from the rest of the picture.


To really experience the horror of the scene one has to go back to the time and the directors' recent history. He had just come off North by Northwest pus several Technicolor marvels before it. He was also hearing the talk that Henri-Georges Clouzot was coming for his title of master of suspense with 1955's Diabolique being exhibit 1. Hitchcock was having none of it wanting to make a mike drop statement in black & white in a motel shower.


Among the commentators are Directors Eli Roth, Guillermo del Toro actors Elijah Wood and Jamile Lee Curtis alongside composer Danny Elfman who comes to the fore when Bernard Herrmann's  slashing strings music that opens the attack followed by the lower octave baseline as Marion Crane slowly takes her last breaths. Director/ Actor/ Critic Peter Bogdanovich was at the press screening from the opening. He recalls that from the moment mother pulls the curtain back and the knife comes into frame the audience started a sustained screen that did not stop until the scene faded to black. Bogdanovich felt like he was assaulted not to mention Hitchcock's misdirection as Vera Miles appeared in the shower in the trailer. Plus it was unheard of in mainstream films of the day to kill off you presumptive lead character 40 minutes into the film. Phillipe also recruited a series of editors including Chris Innis ( Hurt Locker) Walter Murch ( Apolocype Now) and Bob Murawski (Spiderman) to break down Tomansini's work. They focus in on the dead space to the left of the frame, the switch from Marion's back to the wall to back to the curtain in order to introduce Norman Bates into the scene and the knife stabs themselves cutting through the shower spray and only touching Marion's body in on frame near her belly button.

78/52 is a film historian, director obsessed, editing nerds Valhalla. The documentary has clips of the director from his Sunday night show, interviews, doc with Truffaut doc and stories of his idiosyncrasies. The score is dissected, Saul Bass' storyboards examined along side the battle with the sensors. It's a master class in filmmaking that I can highly recommend.

**** Out of 4

78/52 | Alexandre O. Philippe | U.S.A. | 2017 | 91 Minutes.

Tags: Documentary, Interviews, Shower, Murder, Shots, Cuts, Film, Psycho, Hitchcock, 1960, Black & White, Body Double, Bates Motel, $40,000.




Fox Searchlight Film Review - Goodbye Christopher Robin


London playwright Alan A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) suffered from a serious case of shell-shock known today as PSTD when he returned to England from The Great War. Loud noises, corks popping, bright lights and especially bees would bring him back to the Western Front in a trench at  the Somme seeing men's lifeless bodies piled up with files spawned from maggots buzzing around. During one of his episodes his illustrator friend Ernest Shepard (Stephen Campbell Moore) who was at Passchendaele during the war commented that for him it's his motorcycle backfiring. Shepard then summed up that they both would be fine they just need to get things right up here pointing to his temple.

The English people were collectively down after the war. A generation of first sons lost leaving a shortage of marriage options with many who returned prone to sudden fits of anger. Milne had to get out of the city which his wife Daphne (Margot Robbie) who craves fast pace action opposed remarking that a Westend playwright needs to be in London. Soon after their arrival in Sussex Christopher Robin (Will Tilston) their largely ignored 8-year-old son arrives. His mother wanted a girl telling anyone who would listen that the birth almost killed her. Milne had remote contact with the child leaving nanny Olive (Kelly Macdonald) to be the child's default parent.


Director Simon Curtis takes his time with the material introducing the iconic toys slowly with each member of the family playing their part in providing the names. Pooh was initially directed at another animal entirely, Daphne who did most of the playful voicing came up with Kanga and Roo while Alan Milne the author himself felt that Eeyore would be a good name for donkey. A bear that Billy saw in the Zoo named Winne short for it's birthplace Winnipeg became the titular character Winnie the Pooh.


Cinematographer Ben Smithard is greatly responsible for bring the story to life. From the opening shot light and shadow play a major role displaying the mythical Hundred Acre 100 Wood. Including the wooden footbridge across River Medway where Smithard lens captures the energy of each game of Poohsticks flowing downstream below.  Natural light also cuts into interior scenes at the country house through windowpanes. At nighttime it's the moonlight that lights the actors as it hovers about the quiet Sussex countryside.

Goodbye Christopher Robin is a fitting backstory for characters that are universally known and loved. The reveal here is the strain that the books put on Milne son who had to bore the mantle of Christopher Robin. As a child he was a show pony trotted out to events to sell product. By his teens ridiculed and bullied then as a young man seeking anonymity headed off to the front for the Second World war as Private Milne. It's a sweet tale that children of all ages will find nuggets that make them smile making it a film that I can recommend.

*** Out of 4.

Goodbye Christopher Robin | Simon Curtis | UK | 2017 | 107 Minutes.

Tags: The Great War, London, PTSB, Sussex, Toy Bear, Ashdown Forest, Vanity Fair, Book Signing, New York, London Zoo.




Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Film Review - Blade Runner 2049

Set 30 years after the Ridley Scott original Denis Villeneuve wades into hollow ground to direct the sequel that fanatics have both dreamed of and dreaded since viewing the ending credits of the 1982 film. There was much risk here, 150 million budget, an original that pre-dates the millennial crowd plus an extra long run time that challenges today's short attention spans to let the material breathe.

However Villeneuve has planted the seeds that sprouted a visually spectacular film underpinned by a compelling narrative that starts on a remote farm on the outskirts of 2049 Los Angeles. LAPD officer K (Ryan Gosling) is this generations Rick Deckhard (Harrison Ford) a replicant hunter specifically the Nexus 8's that are designated for retirement. Underlying is the 10 day black out that wiped all digitally stored records on the androids from the system. K arrives at the farm for a seemingly routine mission that set ups totems that will play out throughout the film. His target Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista) verbally attacks him for hunting his kind spiting out that K can only do his job because he has not seen a miracle.


Beside K and Deckard Villeneuve's universe is occupied by a series of memorable characters. K's boss Lieutenant Joshi (Robin Wright) cold blooded and focused seeming at times more of an android than K. At home in his apartment where he is ridiculed by human residents he is waited on by his holographic girlfriend Joi (Ana de Armas) who has a fifty foot ad along the city's skyline promising to fulfill the pleasure of any man who purchases her program. Sylvia Hoeks shines as Luv the right hand woman to replicant reviver Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) a martial arts assassin that doesn't give a second thought to killing scavengers via satellite as she casually has her nails done in a comfortable recliner.


Villeneuve comes off as having a keen knowledge of the source material. The essence is the movement between dreams and reality peaking when K goes to have a discussion with memory implanter Carla Juri (Dr. Ana Stelline) then as he enters the home of his main totem a sand swept dead space with decaying erotic idols mixed amongst a living bee colony of insects K has never seen. Final proof casting Mackenzie Davis as Mariette a pleasure provider who's a dead ringer for Daryl Hannah's persona Pris from the original. It's a sensory filling cinematic experience that I can highly recommend.

**** Out of 4.

Blade Runner 2049 | Denis Villeneuve | USA/UK/Canada | 2017 | 164 Minutes.

Tags: Sequel, Sci-Fi , Dystopian, Replicants, Hologram,  Pregnancy, Android, Farm, L.A., Las Vegas, Peugeot, Pan Am, Atari, Toy Horse.



Sunday, October 1, 2017

TIFF 17 Film Review - Molly's Game

Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) is competitive having been driven by her psychologist dad (Kevin Costner) who produced three kids with a shot to make the U.S. Olympic ski team. Director Aaron Sorkins first feature film is wordy as expected. Bloom describes her last run to make the U.S. ski team up down forwards and backwards. After crashing out she goes to L.A. ahead of Law School takes the job as an assistant for a sleazy L.A. producer who gets mad at her for picking up the wrong bagels but lets her host his weekly poker game for tips. The underground soiree is THE GAME in L.A. $10,000 buy ins potentially a million changing hands in one night with A-list actors, sports stars financiers, fund managers and moguls in attendance. Bloom studies, learns and two weeks in knows the in's and outs of Hold'em poker positioning herself to swoop in and take the players when the inevitable dispute occurs with her boss.


However she did not see the next blind side coming which lead her two New York, an even larger game (250K Buy-ins) plus now she's taking a rake therefore officially breaking the law. The shady characters increase as does the game's frequency bringing her to the attention of the mob and the feds coupled with her memoir see's her arrested with assets seized a move by the Feds trying to flush her out and give up bigger fish.

Screenwriter Arron Sorkin can talk up a subject. The opening skiing sequence followed by Molly learning the skills of poker are narrative ballets dancing across the screen. With Bloom he found a strong personality to anchor his directorial debut and in Chastain the perfect person to play her. To say the piece is fast paced would be the ultimate understatement. The titular's character's scenes with her lawyer Charley Jaffey (Idris Elba) consist of verbal badminton where he's looking out for her best interest but she is refusing to do anything that she feels is not right to say nothing of the fact his frustration since she can't cover his $250,000 retainer. Sorkin even blows up Psychiatry as a profession when Molly's dad appears in New York to give her all of the answers that would have normally taken three years of psychotherapy to achieve. Chastain continues her run of being the female in an male dominated area where she not only survives but excels.  

Molly's Game is a finely measured maiden outing from a screenwriter that everyone knew would eventually find his way behind the camera. For his maiden outing he is blessed with a strong real life characters and a principal cast filled with acting precision. It's a fresh look at poker, power, wealth and fame that I can definitely recommend.

*** 1/2 Out of 4.

Molly's Game | Aaron Sorkin | USA | 2017 | 141 Minutes.

Tags: Voice Over, Biopic, Texas Hold'em, Private Game, Hostess, Tips, Player List, Fund Managers, L.A., New York, Russians, FBI, Poker Princess, Informant, Arrest, Trial, Hard Drive, Sentence.

TIFF 17 Film Review - Faces Places

The oddest of couples helm Faces Places early thirties graffiti/ large form print artist JR teams with Master Agnes Varda who is more than 50 years his senior to take a ride across the villages in France posting large format print of the characters they run into along the way. Chance has always been my best assistant she declares near the films opening. Not a truer sentiment could have been stated to introduce the events that follow. JR has recently been in the news having completed a 70 foot instillation at the Mexico-US border of a baby peering over the wall from the Mexican side.

The pair set out in Jr's Mercedes van that doubles as a large black and white camera, photo booth and print shop. Their first stop an abandoned northern mining town with one remaining resident. There they post photos of the former minors on the row houses plus one of the last resident adorning her home. Next there off to see a farmer that once had 2000 acres under his care. They learn about his current experience and leave him with a souvenir print of himself on the front side of his barn.


Varda and JR share directing credit for the piece. They spend their time together teasing and provoking. Varda constantly at JR for never removing his sunglasses or fedora while he fires back at Varda on just about every topic imaginable. They are both so forward and forthright that their natural personalities fill the screen and theatre with constant laughter.


The most profound portions of the project include a stop at a shipping yard in Le Harve an all male domain. Here the pair bring the wives of three of the dock workers giving them 100 foot monuments plastered on shipping containers. The other an ill-fated train trip to go and see Goddard a long time friend of Varda and her late husband director Jack Demy who stands her up. Seeing how disappointed she is with that event Jr finally gives Varda what she wants and removes his hat and sunglasses. Special mention to a recreation of Goddard's dash though the Louve scene from Band of Ousiders with Varda in a wheelchair and JR pushing her maniacally from behind.

Faces Places is a joyful romp across the small towns of France featuring the best opening and closing credit sequences of the year. The film brings ordinary people to the forefront in the most simple manor bringing joy to them and their communities. The two principals are a perfect match even though you would think they have noting in common being generations apart. Varda youthful exuberance along with JR laid back calmness make for the perfect mix that underpins a film that I can highly recommend.

*** 1/2 Out of 4.

Faces Places | Agnes Varda / JR | France | 2017 | 89 Minutes.

Tags: Documentary, Street Artist, Cole Miners, Church Bells, Le Havre, The Louvre, Jean Luc Godard, Rolle Switzerland.




TIFF 17 Film Review - Lean on Pete

15-year-old Charley (Charley Thompson) has seen enough hardship in his young live to match someone three times his age. He has just moved to Portland with his dad from Spokane, Washington. He has two prized possessions a running and junior football trophy. His home is borderline condemned and there are rodents on the loose throughout. His only form of enjoyment is his morning run that one day brings him by Portland Downs where he meets Del (Steve Buscemi) who takes him on as an assistant for a small amount of cash.


Charley is in constant search of a mother figure. His ultimate goal is his Aunt Martha (Rachel Perrell Fosket) who her dad pushed away years ago. A fill in is Bonnie (Chloe Sevigny) who works as a jockey for Del on occasion and is not opposed to his shady means to boosts a horses performance. After a tragic family incident Charley seizes the oppournity to save a labouring old quarter horse Lean on Pete and combine that with a trek to find his Aunt Martha in Wyoming. Along the way Charley's struggles get worse he's forced to syphon gas, beg for food then ending up emaciated and homeless.

Director Andrew Haig tells a tale of a young teenage that starts out badly then progressively gets worse. Charley comes across many people who are sympathetic to his situation even though many of these encounters could have been the final straw in a short desperate life. This is not an uplifting journey of discovery for a young adventurer. Cinematographer Magnus Nordenhof Jonck deserves special mention as the second half of the film is mainly shots of Charley wondering the Western countryside. Jonck delivers the greens, blues, browns and oranges of the tapestry to the screen. Nighttime scenes with a fire flickering or headlights cutting through the darkness on quiet highways set the tone for the cold quiet isolation of the lead character.

The ensemble cast settle comfortably into their roles. Charley Thompson is perfectly cast as the frail 15 year old teen whose mom walked out on him in his youth and dad moves him from city to city across the Northwest seeking warehouse work. Travis Fimmel as is dad Ray still has some of his boyish charm that helps him with the opposite sex but gets him in trouble with their regular partners. Shady horse trainer Del Steve Bushemi teaches Charley more at a couple of out of town races about manners and hard work that his father ever has.  Look for Steve Zahn in a small role as Del who takes an interest in Charley after a meeting in a soup kitchen offering him a place to sleep and get off of the streets.

Lean On Pete is the story of a young teen that due to circumstances has to grow up much to fast. All he is looking for is a shot of stability a chance to settle into a regular schedule and a warm roof over his head at night. It's a road film where the main character meets many an in testing character along the way as he tries to get to his fabled Aunt Martha who could be his symbolic unicorn

*** 1/2 Out of 4.

Lean on Pete | Andrew Haig | UK | 2017 | 121 Minutes.

Tags: Horse Training, Running, Junior Football, Claim Racing, Boosting, Drug Testing, Mexico, Slaughterhouse, Dine and Dash.




Saturday, September 30, 2017

TIFF 17 Film Review - Hostiles

Soon to be retiring Army Captain Joseph J. Blocker (Christian Bale) has one last great assignment to complete by order of the President. Escort Cheyenne leader Chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) who has been in prison for years back to his homeland in Montana to die.  The party sets out from the New Mexico fort coming across coming across frontier woman Rosalie Quaid (Rosamund Pike) whose family was wiped out by Comanche raiders. She joins the party uncomfortable with the native members as first considering her recent experience. As they make their way across the territory the same Comanches attack again with grave consequences for two of the military party. The troop limps into Fort Collins, Colorado picking up a condemned criminal Philip Wills (Ben Foster).


The subject matter of the film is uncomfortable jarring and psychologically challenging. Rosalie is bearly functioning when Blocker finds her then her next encounter is with people looking like those that wiped out her family. Blocker and Yellow Hawk are sworn enemies but they are forced to team up along the route to fight common enemies. Wills and Blocker served together both viciously killing natives but one is leading a mission sanctioned by the President wile the other is shackled in chains on his way to the gallows.

Director Scott Cooper's film is set in 1892 towards the end of the Indian wars. The frontier setting means that no one that you don't know well is to be trusted. Your level of authority as a lawman or commissioned solider is tenuous at best and revoked if facing a larger party or out gunned. The pace is cautious as everyone has to be who dwells in the western territories.

Christian Bale spans the range of emotion as Captain Blocker. He has no love loss for the natives although he speaks their language. Having seen many past colleagues die at their hand he tried to refuse the assignment until his pension was threatened. He's highly educated yet a blunt instrument of death when those skills are required. Rosamund Pike is effective as Rosalie Quaid. She's a mess totally traumatized by the death of her family but slowly builds back up to ultimately be a key contributor in a vital confrontation later on in the film. Rory Coltrane turns in a philosopher warrior performance as Metz. He's been fighting alongside Blocker for many years having started out on the other side with the Grays. He's killed his share of men but realizes that his people have wronged those that originally inhabited this land.

Hostiles is a beautiful looking film where cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi's lens captures the colours, rough edges and vast spaces of the land. Christian Bale leads a sharp cast that's short on words but ready in an instant to make a deadly choice.  It's a story where friends become enemies, those that look like you can be your biggest threat while those that do not can save your life.

*** 1/2 Out of 4

Hostiles | Scott Cooper | USA | 2017 | 127 Minutes.

Tags: Western, Frontier, Burial Lands, New Mexico, Scalped, Colorado, Montana, Prisoner.


TIFF 17 Film Review - Disobedience

Ronit (Rachel Weisz ) is a successful photographer in New York. The film opens with her on a shoot when she he gets a call that her father the principal Orthodox Rabbi in a North London orthodox community has died. His last act a frenzied sermon on free will that will hover over the balance of the action to come. Ronit who left on bad terms shows up at the reception for her father to the shocked looks of the community. She is reunited with her two childhood pals Dovid (Alessando Nivola) and Esti (Rachel McAdams) who are married seeming having turned to each other after Ronit's departure.


Sebastian Lelio continues to show that he is adept at telling stories with complicated female leads. A Fantastic Woman his other feature this year features a transgendered person determined to get the right to grieve a lost love. His prior film Gloria followed a mid-fifties woman who's very active in the Santiago, Chile dating scene. Here Lelio switches to English backed by a strong cast head into the dark corners of Jewish Orthodoxy to present a narrative of two women who break from tradition.

Esti is a symbol of repression. She is a teacher who's very frum as she walks the community streets sporting the obligatory off fitting wig. She does her duty of Friday night sex with Dovid only beginning to come out of her shell after a chance meeting with Ronit that leads to a rekindling of a long lost relationship near a favourite tree in a park. The pair separate until they steal off to a central London hotel room to unleash a half a lifetime of pent up feeling and emotions in a scene that will have the public and industry talking about for a long time. It's not exploitive but effective and essential to the narrative. Dovid is left along to wrestle with the changes in his home and his synagogue as he is the expected successor to the departed Rav.

Rachel Weisz serves as a producer having optioned the book of Naomi Alderman. Her performance is  energetic but occupies one beat of defiance until she is in her fathers home seeing how he lived at the end shows her vulnerability. The central performance here is that of Rachel McAdams as Esti. She stayed behind, takes her teaching and religious cannons seriously but knows there has been a large hole since Ronit fled town all of those years ago. The most surprising performer is Alessandro Nivola as Dovid. He was the top student of the departed Rav Krushka, best friends of both the women and feels the pressure to do the right thing by his wife and for the community. He's also the one that extends the first kind words to Ronit when she turns up at the reception for her father.  Eventually his actions he takes in all of these areas are very unexpected.

In the end as introduced with the opening prelude Disobedience is a film that brings to a head the struggle between religious order and tradition on one side and freedom and free will on the other.  Lelio continues his trend of brining characters to the screen that the viewer quickly feels a vested interest in their well being. Here Dovid, Esti and Ronit have a very complicated relationship  that's well worth the watch.

**** Out of 4.

Disobedience | Sebastian Lelio | USA/UK/Ireland | 2017 | 114 Minutes.

Tags:  Photographer, Orthodox, Rabbi, Shabbat Dinner, Sermon, Teacher, Yeshiva, Judgement, Piety, Frum, Candle Sticks,

TIFF 17 Film Review - The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Old testament rules or even more severe ancient judgment are the principals that rule Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest feature Killing of A Sacred Deer. Taking of a life even if you did not mean to will have repercussions on your family ala the death of the first born of Egypt in the Ten Commandments.  With this premise in mind Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) a heart surgeon has taken a unexplained interest in a young man Martin (Barry Keoghan) Martin shows up at the hospital to see him unannounced but even when annoyed Steven always has time to see him.  His wife Anna (Nicole Kidman) is a leading ophthalmologist who along with Steven and their two kids Kim (Raffey Cassidy) and Bob (Sunny Sulkic) live in a well to do area of town.  Martin ‘s involvement with the Murphy's builds when he is invited for dinner. The visitor immediately fascinates Kim coming off as the perfect gentleman throughout the evening. Martin request that Steven to return the favour and have dinner at his modest home across town. That evening does not go as planned with Steven scrambling to leave as things begin to get awkward. 


Director Lanthimos slowly builds the story unravelling the linkage between the characters. The players oddly to jump from hello to imitate personal details in the next exchange.  Remembering the initial premise consequences appear one morning when Bob tries to get out of bed to go to school finding he does not have the use of his legs. His parents think that he is joking at first but that is not the case. Next the same affliction befalls Kim then it’s revealed that Steven a former alcoholic may not have been right when he performed surgery on Martin’s dad.

Colin Farrell continues in a streak of playing flawed characters with the role of Steven. He feels bad for what happened thus tries to do what he can for Martin only to realize that friendships, guidance and gifts do not interest Martin. Barry Keoghan is haunting as the family interloper in the best tradition of family stalkers. He charms the entire family practically has a spell cast over Kim then is steady and unrelenting when pushed to move off of his position. Look for Alicia Silverstone is a minor role as Martin’s mother. She tries to keep a normal home for her son following the untimely death of his father.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a chilling tale that demonstrates that despite money or status when you have committed a wrong justice must be extracted. The most horrific aspect of the tale is how calm the family members are despite terrible symptoms occurring to the kids and they grow to learn  what they have to do to break the curse. It’s a compelling watch and  a film I can recommend.

****  Out of 4.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer | Yorgos Lanthimos | U.S.A. | 2017 |

Tags: Heart Surgeon, Ophthalmologist, Alcoholic, Operation, Watch Band, Rifle, Smoking, Gardening, Deadly Choice.  

       

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

TIFF 17 Film Review - The Rider

Perched in front a bathroom mirror pulling staples out of the side of a heavily bandaged head are the first images we see of Broncho rider  Brady Blackburn (Brady Jandreau) Brady is just recently home from hospital after being stepped on by a bucking horse at a rodeo event.   His world consists of his mentally challenged sister Lilly (Lilly Jandreau) his dad (Tim Jandreau) the trailer they live in and the horses on their South Dakota property that they groom and train. His dad is prone to drinking and gambling leaving the family short of cash especially since Brady can no longer complete plus the doctors are even cautioning him from even training horses.


Director Chloe Zhao lets the South Dakota vast landscape and space habitation play out like a leading character in this film/documentary story of the challenges facing an injured cowboy in recovery.  A few of his professional riding friends drop by taking him out into the desert for a night of beers, shenanigans and riding stories. A telling comment is all the pride they have remarking how keep going when even one of their smallest injuries would put a millionaire NFL player into concussion protocol.

Back to reality Brady is forced to take a job in a grocery store to bring in some money as his dad is forced to sell a beloved horse to pay off the back rent on the family trailer. He’s recognized by fans who pose for pictures egging him on to get back on a horse and into competition. Brady’s happiest times occur when he visits his friend Lane (Lane Scott) who’s in a rehabilitation hospital with severe injuries from a riding accident that has put him in a wheelchair. They look at Lanes old rides, get him up on a saddle and work the reigns together as if Lane is back up on a horse.

Cinematographer Joshua James Richards deserves special mention. His lighting, shading and framing choices show off the South Dakota terrain. The fire flickering off the friends faces as they surround a campfire in the desert as they switch off telling war stories to the closing window of light between Brady and a colt as he tries to gain a stallion’s trust to first be able to touch, place a saddle then mount. 

The Rider is an intimate measured paced story rooted in the true obstacles facing a bronco buster after a serious injury. Brady identifies himself as the titular character but must face the fact that he may not be able to do the one thing he loves ever again. Zhao dives into the lifestyle the factors by which a cowboy determines their self-worth and into the stark reality of what changes have to be made when the dream is over.

**** Out of 4.

The Rider |Chloe Zhao | U.S.A. | 2017 | 104 Minutes


Tags:  Rodeo, Bronco Rider, Head Injury, Double Wide, Saddle, Chaps, Horse Trainer, Spinal Injury, Rehabilitation Hospital, Seizures, Pine Ridge, Dakotamart.

TIFF 17 Film Review - A Fantastic Woman

When we first meet Martina Vidal (Daniela Vega) she is in her element. A popular nightclub singer performing on stage with her lover Orlando (Francisco Reyes) in his late fifties watching her intently. Then the couple go out for a celebratory dinner for Orlando birthday where he mentions a lavish trip in the making. Following dinner they go home to Orlando’s apartment to celebrate when he suffers a medical emergency and dies thus spinning Martina’s world into complete turmoil.  Orlando has a family, a grown son, ex-wife, brother and cousins who never approved of their family members relationship with a transgendered person.  After Martina brings Orlando to the hospital in an attempt to save her life. She is treated as a criminal then pursued by a police detective who forces her to be stripped down to nudity at the station to be photographed amid questions of prostitution and abuse.


Director Sebastian Lelio continues to show that he is a storyteller to watch following his break out film Gloria. Again here he trains his lens on a female that is struggling outside of main stream society to keep her dignity and push forward. In Gloria the subject was a middle aged divorced woman. In this case it’s a late 20’s transgendered person who is shunned at every turn but wants closure of her relationship with her suddenly departed partner. The offering is also very timely as the debate on how to treat transgender persons socially and legally rages in several countries around the world. 
    
Transgendered Actress Daniela Vega is in just about every frame in the piece as Martina. She has a great inner strength to stand up for herself in just about every situation but in two scenes where she has direct dealings with the authorities they break her down to a tiny pebble. That treatment is worse than any open abuse or ridicule that she faces including a physical confrontation with Orlando’s son and some of his friends. She’s also suppressing real operatic talent as detailed in an exchange with her vocal coach who she visits in the turmoil following Orlando’s death.  

With A Fantastic Woman, Sebastian Lelio has established himself as a strong voice in world cinema. He again films mainly in his comfort zone in Santiago, Chile but has branched out with another film his first in English Disobedience with Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdam set in London that also screened at TIFF.  Lelio continues tell stories of strong female characters fighting for their individuality and fulfilment against the backlash of a patristic society.

**** Out of 4.

A Fantastic Woman | Sabastian Lelio | Chile | 2017 | 104 Minutes.


Tags: Birthday Celebration, Nightclub Singer, Waitress, Iguaza Falls, Aneurism, Sex Crimes Unit, Physical Exam, Key, Spa Locker, German Sheppard. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

TIFF 17 Film Review - I, Tonya

The opening frames of I, Tonya announce that what follows is based on a series of irony-free, wildly contradictory and total true interviews. Then we cut to mock set ups of Tonya ( Margot Robbie) her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan) and her mother LeVona  Harding ( Allison Janney) decked out in a fur coat with oxygen tubes attached to her nostrils and a bird on her shoulder that pecks at her on a semi regular basis.  From there we go back to the beginning where we see a three year old Harding led onto the ice by her chain smoking mother determined to have the leading figure skating coach in Portland Diane Rawlinson (Julianne Nicholson) take on her talented daughter as a student.  Harding then moves onto the figure skating competitive circuit where her brashness coloured by the harsh comments of her mother turn the community against her. She has the talent but lacks the polish all the while refusing to play ball. The middle segment ends with Tonya dad leaving forcing the skater to face her abuse mother full on as Margo Robbie first appears on screen as the 15 year old version of the titular character.


Director Gillespie makes some bold choices with the material that may not be to everyone’s taste but is true to the set up with the initial declaration. Events are described by, Tonya, Jeff and LeVona as if they all were at a different event with the characters often looking right at the camera as they deliver their soon to be disputed dialogue. The best of these passages comes from Gillooly buddy and Kerrigan assault ringleader Shawn Eckhardt (Paul Walter Hauser) as he makes himself out to be an espionage expert worthy of the toughest deep cover assignment Langley could offer. The other script choice was to limit the role of Harding foil  Nancy Kerrigan (Caitlin Carver) she plays ball, wears the regulation costumes and is the circuit darling.   
    
The film’s pace quickens following a death threat to Harding that effects her performance on the ice. Jeff and his pal Shawn reason that something should happen to Kerrigan to even the playing field. Their initial thought of letters which involved Tanya playing a role to obtain and jot down Kerrigan’s training schedule escalated out of control to the lead pipe to the knee assault perpetrated by two bozo acquaintances of Echhardt referred to only as the incident in the film.

Margot Robbie undergoes quite the transformation to play Harding. She embraces early 90’s frizz alongside of a working class Pacific Northwest accent and attitude. She has not filter as a result of her tough upbringing. If she feels she’s been wronged she is right in your face be it a fan in the stands or a judge perched up on the far boards.  Robbie’s morphing may have been topped by Allison Janney. After a series of responsible adult roles she takes the most offence stab at motherhood since Faye Dunaway picked up a coat hanger as Joan Crawford.  

I, Tonya is a loosely framed biopic backed by sharp cutting dialogue and a base story that is so unbelievable that no one could have presented the topic as a fictional piece and had it made. All the elements of an underdog story are present. The outsider vs the establishment. Escape from abusive relationships and a second shot at redemption by the main character after falling short of her lifelong dream. Ultimately it’s a tale that makes the viewer surprisingly sympathetic to Harding witch is a fine testament to the work of Margot Robbie in front of and Craig Gillespie behind the camera.

**** Out of 4.

I, Tonya | Craig Gillespie | U.S.A. | 2017 | 121 minutes.

Tags: Figure Skating, Olympics, Albertville, Lillehammer, Scandal, Tabloids, Lead Pipe, Skate Lace, Fourth Wall. 






   

TIFF 17 Film Review - Sweet Country

Set in 1929 Sweet Country walks the razors edge of race relations between Aboriginals and Whites deep in the Australian. The relationship between the communities span from being treated with respect and dignity to being seen as property depending on whose land you’re on.  The aborigines work as labour and domestic help on the properties but fear that the continued expansion of the white settles continue to encroach on their historical lands.


Sam Neil’s Fred Smith is at one end of the spectrum. He treats his workers fairly and sees them as equals in conversation and based on his actions.  Nearby Mick Kennedy (Thomas M. Wright) beats a teenage aboriginal boy  Philomac (Tremayne/Trevon Doolan) who is likely his son with a belt as he stole a watermelon from the garden. The other end of the spectrum is occupied by Harry March (Ewen Leslie) the recently arrived war veteran, drinks constantly Philomac  to a post when he comes to work on his property then rapes Sam Kelly’s ( Hamilton Norris) wife Lizzie ( Natassia Gorey-Fuber) who came along with Sam and the boy to help March settle in to his new  place.  Philomac escapes pursued by Harry March leading to a exchange of gunfire between Sam Kelly and March.

Director Warwick Thorton explores frontier justice and customs in his expansive visually stunning productions. The Northern territories with its vast open spaces, lack of green and never-ending orange,, sun and dust serve as a featured character in the film. A group of four lead by the local law man Sergeant Fletcher (Bryan Brown) and including Mick and Fred chase after Sam and Lizzie who outwit them based on their knowledge of the land. As the tale unfolds Thornton uses the nifty device of flash forwards to give a glimpse of what the future will hold for the main participants.      

Sam Neil continues his streak of strong performances as the steady handed preacher Fred Smith. Acting neophytes Tremayne / Trevon Doolan alongside Hamilton Morris as Sam Kelly hold their own in a community that is set up against them  where they have no idea how they will be treated from one person to the next. Ewen Leslie is powerful and impactful in the limited role of Harry Marsh that serves to get the main thrust of the story kick started.      

Warwick Thorton explores native/settler relations in the most remote regions of Australia in the first part of the last century. The settlers see their presence as just scratching the surface of the territory while the Aborigines see them as already to deep into their territory. This difference of opinion and position will always lead to conflict, tension and confrontation that is unfortunately still not fully resolved today.

**** Out of 4.
Sweet Country | Warwick Thornton| Australia | 2017 | 112 minutes.
Tags: Outback, Station, Stockmen, Servants, Rape, Beating, Shotgun, Self Defense, Chase, Trial, Verdict, Sentence. 
   


TIFF 17 Film Review - Loveless

12 year old Alyosha (Matvey Novikov) has a special tree that he likes to spend time at in the woods between the school and his home. Here there is no shouting or harsh words. Alyosha can play with a colourful piece of ribbon, stare at the water and marvel at the sky. Once he leaves and comes home he is faced with his reality. His apartment is up for sale, there are people trekking in every day to poke around in his room. On top of this his soon to be divorced mother Zhenya (Maryana Spivak) and father Boris (Alexey Rozin) already have new partner seemingly not able to speak a sentence to each other without degenerating into a fight. The fights are usually in front of their son welling him up with emotion that is mocked by his parents.


In the early going it appears that neither of the parents want the kid. Zhenya prefers to stare at her iPhone than look at her son. Boris already has another woman pregnant and faces real concerns at his office job as the boss expects all of his sales staff to be in happily married families. Then one night each parent is out with their partner overnight leaving no one at home to realize that Alyosha has gone missing.

Director Alexey Zvyagintsev tells the unblinking tale of two people who can't stand the sight of each other that are forced to team up to find their son. The key to the piece is Zvyaintsev's account of the volunteer search team that help build a background then go step by step through the procedure to investigate and search for a missing child. The phalanx of yellow clad searches marching grid style though a field has been done before but here we get investigation techniques, prime people to interview, interaction with the undermanned disinterested police department and the right questions to ask at hospitals.

Maryana Spivak and Alexey Rozin give equally strong performances as the parents. On a car trip to Zhenya's mother the viewer truly sees how much they despite each other as they try to provoke one another through, music, an open car window and smoking. Matvey Novikov role is limited at Alyosha but he has the most pivotal scene very early on in the proceedings establishing how much he is hurting and how oblivious his parents are of his pain.

Loveless is another suburb offering from Zvyaginstev following in the footsteps of his last feature Leviathan.  While that film was heavier on government corruption, here the officials are more apathetic. Parents desperate to escape from a dead relationship forced to work together make a fascinating dynamic. Neither parent is a sympathetic player with at times the citizen search group leaders appearing to be more interested in finding their child. Zvyaginstev has delivered another piece centered on the workings of modern Russian affairs that is keenly watchable and highly recommended.

**** Out of 4.

Loveless | Alexey Zvagintsev | Russia | 2017 | 127 Minutes.

Tags: Divorce, Christian Fundamentalist, Pregnancy, Runaway, Missing Child, Search and Rescue, Flyers, Surveillance Video, Secret Hideout, Grid Search, Hospital, Athlete, Treadmill.

TIFF 17 Film Review - What Will People Say

The balance between embracing the culture of your new land and maintaining the values of your homeland are difficult choices that each family and the community at large have to face when emigrating. The larger the difference between the old and the new homes enlarges the struggle with potential language and religious differences fostering a larger dependence on the community of ex-pats in the new local. Nisha (Maria Mozhdah) is 16 and popular amongst her Norwegian high school friends. She outgoing, comfortable in Western clothing and even gaining interest from the local boys. At home she follows Pakistani traditions, is front and centre at family gathering even if she might sneak out to see her friends when her parents think that she has gone to bed. He dad Mirza (Adil Hussain) is happy that she is doing well with her studies. Her mother is not fooled by her act and wonders what shame she will bring to her family and by extension to the Pakistani community.


Writer director Iram Haq expertly builds the narrative seemingly at a slow steady pace several times during the piece then a sudden act occurs that spins the viewer around in circles. The first being when Nisha's father discovers her boyfriend in her room leading to the strictest form of punishment to save face for the family and serve as a warning to other teens in the Pakistani community. During these heightened exchanges Nisha pleads with her dad no believing what is in store for her raising the tension up to fever pitch levels.

Maria Mozhdah leads the cast as Nisha. To the Western viewer she is not doing anything wrong but her actions on several occasion are interpreted to an insult to the family and a definite sense of shame to her self that make her an outcast on to sides of the planet. Adil Hussain gives a heavily nuanced performance as her father Mirza. Nisha is obviously has favourite child which makes it ever the more painful for him that he continually has to punish her. Look for Sheeba Chaddha as Nisha' Pakistani Aunt. She is having no talk back from her niece after she is banished from Norway to her home keeping her busy in the kitchen when not under a watchful eye when the pair are out at the market.

What Will People say is a story about a clash of cultures. Nisha finds herself stuck exactly in the middle. She is willing to participate in traditional Pakistani events and ceremonies but wants to be with her friends in her spare time. The harshness venom and trickery used against her by her supposed loving family is shocking. It's these types of rigid cultural positions that give rise to honour killings. It's a compelling study of the conflict between culture and society that I can highly recommend.

**** Out of 4.

What Will People Say | Iram Haq | Norway / Germany / Sweden | 2017 | 106 Minutes.

Tags: Norway, Child Services, Pakistan, Police Corruption, Birthday Party, Arranged Marriage, Bed Check, Canada, Kites.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Fox Searchlight Film Review - Battle of the Sexes

Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) was a champion of three important issues of the last century.  Founding member of the WTA, Being a leading advocate of LGTBQ rights and taking a direct risk to her personal life and profession to battle male chauvinism head on.  In Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris’ film The Battle of the Sexes These important pillars are too often interrupted or not complexly fleshed out to give equal time to the Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) clown prince of tennis storyline.


The Riggs angle could have been covered by showing two or three of his stunts along with his best two passages one involving winning a Rolls Royce and the other telling attendees at a gamblers anonymous meeting where their true failings lie.  Instead the narrative often cuts away from an intimate or poignant moment in King’s life to Riggs playing showman in one instance dressed up as Little Bo Peep on the court rallying while shepherding.  
    
The story does hit on a few critical points. How leading tennis players King, Rosie Casals and Ann Jones boycotted the Pacific Southwest Championship run by Jack Kramer (Bill Pullman) the true male chauvinist in the film  when he announced that the that he would pay the men 12:1 in prize money as they were the true draws.  The women then created their own tournament The Houston Women’s Invitational lead by Gladys Heldman (Sara Silverman). More details around this venture would have been compelling instead of flipping back to another Riggs antidote.

The actors all perform well with the material presented. Emma Stone slides comfortably into the Billie Jean King role.  Her struggles with focus, creeping new sexual feelings, knowing the persona she has to present to the public for the survival of the fledgling WTA but still taking a strong stance against an icon of the sport Jack Kramer (Bill Pullman). Steve Carrell is larger than life as Bobby Riggs. He is the outward chauvinist that knows he’s playing a character all the while knowing he’s bankrolled by a woman his estranged wife Priscilla (Elizabeth Shue). Andrea Riseborough turns in a strong supporting role as tour hairdresser Marilyn Barnett carefree in a Haight & Asbury way and catalyst for King’s sexually awakening.

Battle of the Sexes is a film that covers three distinct elements. The story would have benefited from at least a 1/3 split of the topics instead of giving the least engaging aspect half of the screen time. There are some good elements here surrounding the birth of the Women’s Tennis Association, The drive of a competitive athlete and the publics draw to a spectacle but a more in depth look at Billie Jean King’s personal and professional risks would have served the piece better.

** ½ Out of 4.

Battle of the Sexes | Jonathan Dayton / Valerie Faris| UK/ US | 2017 | 121 minutes.

Tags: Tennis, WTA, USLTA, Virginia Slims, Boycott, Chauvinism, Gambling, Exhibition, Houston Astrodome, ABC Sports.  
       


TIFF 17 Film Review - April's Daughter

A study of a middle age woman that refuses to let go of her youth is at the core of Michel Franco’s film April’s Daughter. April (Emma Saurez) fresh of a strong tern in Pedro Almodovar’s last feature Julieta comes to visit her Puerto Vallarta summer home upon learning from her older daughter Clara (Joanna Larequi) that her younger daughter Valeria (Ana Valeria Becerril) is pregnant. Valeria had her suspicions thus did not advise her mom of the pregnancy but upon arrival April seems supportive and helpful. She immediately gets on Clara’s case about her weight and not having a boyfriend, spouts off about her new found love of Yoga teaching wanting to launch a You Tube channel with her and Valeria as instructors.


The screw begins to turn once April decides to drive hundreds of miles to see Valeri’s father with the pretext of requesting help with the impending child but also to fulfill an underlying need to upset his happy new home with a much younger new spouse.  There she meets former ally the family housekeeper. After the birth April becomes increasingly controlling leading to a severe betrayal of her daughter on two fronts as she takes outlandish steps to maintain youthful relevance.

Director Franco presents a tale focused on two mother daughter relationship where each participant is no as they initially appear. Valeria initially comes off as whimsical, selfish and self-absorbed while April is loving, supportive and understanding of her youngest daughter’s situation and wishes. The most intriguing character is Clara. She’s mute when Valeria and her boyfriend Matteo (Enrique Arrizon) openly flaunt their sexually charged relationship, tells her mom about the pregnancy despite her half-sisters open protests, endures blatant fat shaming but is part of a transaction that completely betrays her sister.

Emma Suarez turns in another fine acting performance as April.  She could easily pass as Clara’s older sister not being out of place when she goes shopping for clothes with a younger boy toy. She switches on a dime from being cheerful, playful and lighthearted to controlling, manipulative and cruel the next. Ana Valeria Becerril is sneaky tough as Valeria. She is way more resourceful, single minded and persistent that one would expect.
April’s Daughter is a story of betrayal and shattering of the most basic human bond of that between a mother and a daughter. The daughter seemingly with zero cards to play manages to work out the problem to solve the puzzle. The strong ensemble cast do not set a foot wrong in a film that I can recommend.

*** Out of 4.

April’s Daughter |Michael Franco | Mexico | 2017 | 103 minutes. 

Tags: Puerto Vallarta,Step Sisters, Yoga, Mexico City, Real Estate Agency, Beach House, Pregnancy, Adoption, Kidnapping.


TIFF 17 Film Review - Black Cop

The script is reversed in writer director Cory Bowles Black Cop.  Ronnie Row Jr. plays the titular character a black police officer in an unnamed North American city working on the Metropolitan Police force. He patrols alone regularly flipping on his body camera just before he’s about to engage the public. Following an incident where he is stopped by fellow police offices while out jogging warring a hoodie the films protagonist decides to brandish his own form of justice all the while haunted by the recent death of a black teen under dubious circumstance.


The patrolman stops and harasses among others a middle age white jogger who does not match the description of a suspect in a neighbourhood. Follows a frat boy around campus tracking him on bodycam footage until confronting him as he tries to unlock his bike.  Gives a black hipster the gears over his lost bike then adds further insult to injury later in the piece just because everyone hates hipsters regardless of race.

Director Cory Bowels accomplishes his goals with this film. The point is to make those who normally don’t feel uncomfortable around law enforcement uncomfortable to start and spark debate. When people that look like you are being stopped for no reason then on the wrong end of a power struggle when you speak up for your rights it’s very unnerving.

Ronnie Rowe Jr. shines at the vigilante cop. He is in just about every frame of the film having to deal with being attacked by all sides and called every name in the book. His fellow offices see him as a threat when he is out of uniform while members of the Black community see him as a sellout when he is in uniform keeping the peace at a rally.

Black Cop is a timely piece of filmmaking given the current climate of race relations.  The writing rich bordering on poetry in some instances. It’s a film that will lead to heated debate and discussion. A little confrontation at the cinema is always welcome in a presentation that I can definitely recommend.

*** ½ Out of 4.

Black Cop | Cory Bowles | Canada | 2017 | 91 minutes.

Tags: Racial Profiling, Hoodie, Stop and Frisk, Patrolling, Body Camera, Hipster, Red Bike, Jogger, Lawyer, Rookie Cop, Police violence, Vigilante, Rogue Cop.