FILM / Critical Round-up

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The Independent Culture

'After JFK and Malcolm X here is another attempt by American filmmakers to process recent history into a Virtual Reality helmet . . . And you are right there, insists the film, as the young Hoffa pummels America's grumbling pre-war truckers into the close-knit Teamsters Union . . . the long narrative tableaux become dull with historical ineluctability and dubious reverence . . . The film is a soapbox masquerading as a cinema experience.' Nigel Andrews, Financial Times

'Among the recent spate of Hollywood biographies, Hoffa stands alone in one curious respect: you emerge from the cinema knowing even less about the subject than you did before you went in . . . this is a film about Jack Nicholson in funny make-up (swept-back hairpiece, enlarged nose and small, malevolent eyes) giving a steamroller star performance . . . (the script) never lets us inside Hoffa's heart or head.' Geoff Brown, The Times

'The film's basic flaw is a navete that prevents it following through its more interesting political assumptions.' Derek Malcolm, The Guardian


'A screamer that fails to scream. First reason: the film runs out of plot after half an hour . . . Reason two: no one has any reason for doing the things they do . . . As with many horror films, once the explanations and elaborations begin, fear jumps up, asks for its hat and vanishes to another hunting ground.' Nigel Andrews, Financial Times

'Too many horrors stalk the world already; the last thing we need is a new serial killer who smells of honey, boasts a vicious hook, and woos the heroine by cooing at her 'Be my victim' . . . The undead remnant of a 19th-century negro, killed by bees, if you please - is much too contrived to convince.' Geoff Brown, The Times


'A striking, tangled film, saved from the worst of its knots by psychological penetration and provocative visuals . . . Crush suffers at times from directorial overload, and the attempted critique of a New Zealand society fighting against American influence remains half-smothered. But there is enough meat here among the gristle to mark Alison Maclean as another bold talent from down under, determined to push cinema forward.' Geoff Brown, The Times

'Weird scenery and a poetic attitudinising are the chief characteristics of this New Zealand psychodrama . . . (The film) resembles an Antonioni movie hit over the head with a rolled-up New Zealand travel poster.' Nigel Andrews, Financial Times

'It is neither quite well enough directed, nor convincingly enough acted to hold the attention without some irritation.' Derek Malcolm, The Guardian.