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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.