London Film Festival reviews

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The good, the bad and the ugly at this year's London Film Festival

Four star reviews

  • Seven Psychopaths

    Rating: 4/5

    McDonagh’s script is not as brain-achingly clever as, say, Charlie Kaufman’s ‘Adaptation’. But it pokes a satisfyingly self-aware finger in the ribs of writers.

  • Kauwboy

    Rating: 4/5

    Seemingly a simple film, the power of ‘Kauwboy’ becomes suddenly clear when a perfect piece of dialogue injects events with breathtaking retrospective meaning.

  • The Wall

    Rating: 4/5

    Documenting her daily survival in a journal provides the beginning of an answer, as this mesmerising, austere and contemplative film provides a rarefied yet utterly immersive viewing experience.

  • What Richard Did

    Rating: 4/5

    Abrahamson has pulled off something quietly remarkable: a study of morality which never feels like a treatise, a bracingly realistic film about teenagers which never becomes patronising and a gripping melodrama which swerves sentiment.

  • Dead Europe

    Rating: 4/5

    ‘Dead Europe’ packs a lot of story into 84 minutes, and the result can feel a little busy, storming onward without sufficient attention to character or tension. But it gets so much right.

  • West of Memphis

    Rating: 4/5

    Rooted in a precise sense of place, the extensive interview testimony and archive footage build up a troubling fresco of police incompetence and a blinkered judicial system puzzlingly slow to confront escalating doubts.

  • Zaytoun

    Rating: 4/5

    Finding any kind of humanity amidst all this is a tall order, yet with a little humour, plenty of tension and willing performers, the assured Riklis turns in an effective, accessible picture.

  • In the House

    Rating: 4/5

    A witty, naughty, insight-packed provocation which never takes it seriousness too seriously.

  • The Sapphires

    Rating: 4/5

    The movie is gutsy and entertaining enough to have us forgiving its occasional credibility glitches and obviously CGI-ed battlefront visuals.

  • Good Vibrations

    Rating: 4/5

    This genial biopic of the ‘Godfather of Belfast Punk’, Terri Hooley, is a litany of rock-movie clichés, none of which stops ‘Good Vibrations’ from being an impassioned, funny and monumentally likable myth-making comedy.

  • Neighbouring Sounds

    Rating: 4/5

    Utilising techniques learned from horror movies, the director creates a sense of mounting dread and lurking evil. It doesn’t always work – the film promises a little more than it delivers, and at over two hours there are moments where it drags. But as a statement of intent, ‘Neighbouring Sounds’ is incredibly bold.

  • The Loves of Pharaoh

    Rating: 4/5

    The early German filmmakers didn’t do things by halves: this grandiose 1922 silent directed by Ernst Lubitsch features massive sets, ornate costumes and hundreds, possibly thousands of extras.

  • Captive

    Rating: 4/5

    A study of life under extreme pressure, ‘Captive’ is forceful, absorbing and, at times, disconcertingly enjoyable, as Mendoza’s hands-off approach gives the story’s inherent drama room to breathe.

  • Thursday Till Sunday

    Rating: 4/5

    What distinguishes Sotomayor’s film is the facility and accuracy with which she understands, remembers and re-creates the fish-bowl vistas and claustrophobic intimacy of a long car-bound journey (ably assisted by cinematographer Barbara Álvarez).

  • Compliance

    Rating: 4/5

    A riveting, horrifying film, shot through with beautifully observed moments of unwelcome truth. It’s as much a critique of the enclosed systems of modern life as it is of sick individuals with cellphones.

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