Is it symbolic of Scotland’s growing self-confidence that Edinburgh opened with the directorial debut of ‘Trainspotting’ scene-stealer Robert Carlyle? He also stars in serial-killer comedy ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson’ (out on July 24) as a meek Glasgow barber ‘with nae patter’. Still, the best Scots film in show was ‘Big Gold Dream’, an affectionate, authoritative doc on Edinburgh’s influential but under-the-radar post-punk music scene.
Director Andrew Haigh carried off the festival’s biggest gong, The Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature, for his marriage drama ‘45 Years’ (released on August 28). He’ll no doubt be thanking star Charlotte Rampling, who is simply incredible as a woman who goes into a tailspin when major revelations emerge about her husband (Tom Courtenay), the night before their forty-fifth wedding anniversary. The final scene’s a jaw-dropper.
Directing ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ showed that she has ambitions behind the camera, but Elizabeth Banks is on a roll in front of it too. She plays a steely detective in Amy Berg’s sombre child-kidnapping drama ‘Every Secret Thing’, and is the absolute standout as a car saleswoman who helps stricken Beach Boy icon Brian Wilson rebuild his life in the subtle, sensitive and utterly moving biopic ‘Love & Mercy’ (out on July 10).
With four films at the festival, the Welshman’s gangly form was omnipresent at the EIFF. Dearest to him was Kevin Allen’s energetic adaptation of Dylan Thomas’s ‘Under Milk Wood’, a heady, immersive blend of succulent language and imaginative visuals (out on October 27). But the real surprise was ‘Len and Company’, a Canadian indie pic in which Ifans hits a career peak as a grumpy English rocker who’s reached a career and family stalemate.
The fest bagged the UK premiere of Pixar’s brilliant new animation ‘Inside Out’ (out on July 24). The film inventively steps inside a young girl called Riley’s head, as her emotions – Fear, Joy, Anger, and Sadness – jostle for control. Funny woman Amy Poehler is truly delightful as Joy, who battles to retain centre stage. The sight of hip bearded festivalgoers wiping away the tears as they filed out of the cinema is one of the enduring images of the EIFF 2015.