London Film Festival

LFF 2015: ‘Evolution’ is as mysterious as it is beautiful and a masterclass in tone and restraint

It is difficult to discuss Evolution without giving away a lot of its surprises. Needless-to-say, Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s masterful film (only her second in a decade) is disturbing, beautiful and restrained. Mysterious from beginning to end, the film challenges and intrigues, reaching down inside to grab hold of something within us all that is ancient and primordial, engaging on a level that exists within not only a collective imagination but our collective biology

LFF 2015: ‘The Club’ finds moments of grace and meaning amongst the sinful and depraved

Director Pablo Larraín is known for his extremely fascinating social commentaries about his native Chile. Most famously, he tackled the Pinochet regime and its legacy with his trilogy comprising Tony Manero, Post-Mortem­ and ­No. With The Club, Larraín looks at Catholicism, another major Chilean institution, and the abuses of power that can occur within the priesthood.

LFF 2015: ‘Bone Tomahawk’ is a character-driven Western with a horror spin that engages despite its languid pace

To describe Bone Tomahawk as a “horror-Western” is good shorthand, but could be a little misleading. The film indeed has horror elements but novelist turned screenwriter/director S. Craig Zahler seems more interested in spending time with his four main protagonists as they travel across country, letting their different personalities and world views, and the harshness of the terrain, challenge them on their journey

BFI London Film Festival 2013: ‘The Double’ an ambitious and darkly funny second feature

The Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky has been well served by cinema, especially his major works Crime & Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, and The Idiot, all of which have received numerous adaptations throughout the decades. The latter was lavished with a recent Estonian take, after receiving a Japanese decoding by Kurosawa no less, as well as Indian and (naturally) Soviet versions. It has taken until 2013 for a filmmaker brave enough to approach Dostoyevsky’s binary second novel; there is a certain numerical sense of doubling, since Richard Ayoade has decided to allocate his second film as The Double, an ambitiously promising plea following Submarine back in 2010.

BFI London Film Festival 2013: ‘Nebraska’ boasts a grizzled, irascible performance from Bruce Dern

Venerable Woody Grant (a grizzled Bruce Dern) has a singular purpose in mind, to get from his adopted Montana home to neighbouring Nebraska to collect a million-dollar cheque that a suspiciously speculative postal disclaimer has promised to honour. Elderly and suffering with decaying mental functions, Woody clearly can’t see through the marketing scam, and his wife Kate (June Squibb) and son David (Will Forte) grow increasingly exasperated at his dangerous footbound expeditions before arriving at a mutual solution:

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