Inglourious Basterds

This is an anomaly.  

An American film where the Germans speak German to each other, the French speak French to each other, and the Germans stationed in France speak French to the locals.  The majority of the film is subtitled and if it weren’t for the obligatory Tarantino body count, I would have forgotten what I was watching!

Tarantino clearly felt it was his turn to present his take on the Nazis v Jews story, but he also throws in some cutting observations on the film industry (both now and during war-time).

Some sharp dialogue and an excellent performance from Christoph Waltz made this a highly entertaining film – just remember to park all notion of reality at the door!

Dogtooth

This film is all kinds of weird.  I have no idea why it even got on to my list, but that’s not to say it wasn’t interesting to watch.

A father, mother and three teenage children live in isolation in the Greek countryside.  The father is the only one in the family who is allowed to leave the grounds of their home, and only one person from the outside ever enters.  She, ultimately, is the one who upsets the balance of the cocoon.

In trying to find out more about the film, I have found it described as an ‘erotic horror’ film.  It’s horror in the sense that the circumstance in which the family lives is horrific (despite the idyllic Greek sunshine and swimming pool).  There are some scenes of a highly sexual nature but they are by no means erotic.

This is a curious, at times grotesque and very singular film – watch it only if you are prepared to be challenged from the first scene to the last.

 

Jane Eyre

Excellent performances by Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender and Judi Dench saved this for me.

It must be really difficult to bring anything new to a story that’s been done so many times before, and the director has tried to be a little different in his approach.  The result was that key elements which drive the story took too much of a back seat – Mr Rochester is always a late arrival to the story, but in this version I was beginning to wonder if he would show up at all.  Several scenes of Jane wandering around the grounds were long and drawn out, and then the ‘weddding’ scene, pivotal to her relationship with Rochester and a huge turning point in her life, was over in seconds with very little tension.  It was a real shame.

If you don’t know the story, then I’m sure it’s as good as any version to watch, but it didn’t bring me anything I didn’t already know.

 

 

Attenberg

Hmm.  All the listings give the impression that this is a ‘coming of age’ film.  To an extent, I suppose, it is, but I wouldn’t say this is the driving narrative.

In the stifling environment of a small Greek costal resort out of season, Marina is dealing with her father’s terminal illness.  The outlet for her imagination is the series of documentaries by Sir David Attenborough (the Attenberg of the title).

Strange though this might be, for me this was the real essence of the story – animal instinct wins out.  Whether it’s sex, food or death, either they want us or we want them.

It was an odd film, with some odd characters, and left me a little bereft.  Much like the girl in the story, I should imagine.

Never Let Me Go

Sad, sad, sad.

In case you don’t know the story, I don’t do spoilers.

But imagine that you absolutely know, without doubt, that something terrible is going to happen to you.  You can’t do anything about it. In fact, you’ve grown to accept that it is your destiny.

This is not a horror film; it’s emotionally blank, but at the same time highly moving.  It doesn’t sensationalise the issue, but you are left in no doubt as to just how sad and pointless life is for the young people at the centre of the story.

When the film finished, I wasn’t sure how I felt – I think because of the lack of emotion on screen.  But it’s been on my mind since I woke this morning, so it has definitely left its mark.

Conclusion? Strangely affecting, subdued, and very touching.