Films of the week: A high time with the children of the revolution in 'Together'
Friday 12 July 2013
(Lukas Moodysson, 2000) Together is a brilliant and touching period comedy about the successes and failures of an idealistic experiment in communal living in Seventies Stockholm, as seen through the eyes of the newest arrival's two children. It is generous enough to accommodate the adults' left-wing politics and the children's weary pragmatism; it also features excellent jumpers and makes good use of Abba. Michael Nyqvist stars. *****
(John Cameron Mitchell, 2010) Adapted by David Lindsay-Abaire from his own Pulitzer Prize-winning play – about an upscale suburban couple (Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart) dealing separately with their intense grief over the death of their four-year-old son, eight months previously – this is an impeccably acted and well-mounted drama. Albeit somewhat brittle and airless. ***
The Killer Inside Me
(Michael Winterbottom, 2010) Of all the pulp fiction writers of the Forties and Fifties, Jim Thompson, the "dimestore Dostoevsky", has the reputation for having gone to the darkest places. This brutal but brilliant adaptation of his best novel faithfully follows him there. Casey Affleck plays the deputy sheriff of a small Texan town; a man driven by harder-to-fathom impulses than your average noir hero. ****
(Zack Snyder, 2009) After 20 years in development hell, and unsuccessful attempts by Terry Gilliam and Darren Aronofsky, a version of Alan Moore's ironic and playfully philosophical comic book was finally put on screen by the director of 300. It is unwieldy, imperfect and a little humourless, but ambitious, clever, spectacular and likely still the best superhero movie ever made. Malin Akerman stars. *****
Private Fears in Public Places
(Alain Resnais, 2006) Alain Resnais's third transposition of an old Alan Ayckbourn play to contemporary Paris is a neatly composed film about the messiness of human affairs. Six lonely characters come apart or attempt to make a connection. Wryly downbeat, unpredictable, grown-up and satisfyingly true, its main message is that it's always the quiet ones you have to watch out for. Sabine Azema stars. ****
(Noah Baumbach, 2010) Noah Baumbach specialises in painful almost-comedies about neurotic and self-absorbed New Yorkers. In this one, Ben Stiller plays a fortyish failed musician recovering after a nervous breakdown, who goes to LA and haltingly pursues a relationship with a 25-year-old. It positively revels in the irony of a protagonist who is so unappealingly self-obsessed, knowing himself so little. ****
(James Gunn, 2010) The story of an ordinary dweeb (Rainn Wilson) who decides to squeeze into some Lycra, call himself a superhero and fight crime, Super is like a funnier and more violent version of Kick-Ass, that doesn't shy away from its own premise. We're never in doubt that its hero is anything other than a crazed, idiot vigilante, for example. Ellen Page is hilarious as his sidekick. ***
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