Going Out: Film - VIDEO REVIEWS

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The Independent Culture
The Idiots (18)

Tartan, rental

The title of Lars Von Trier's picture refers to an odd group of misfit twentysomethings whose idea of fun is to go to the woods to discover their "inner idiot". We are quickly introduced to the leader, Christoff, as he pretends to be mentally handicapped in a restaurant. It becomes increasingly clear that their antics are as much a test for their well-to-do neighbours as an exercise in self-help. If you believe there is something to be gained spiritually from making other people uncomfortable then The Idiots is for you. For the rest of us, it is deeply silly.

At First Sight (12)

MGM, rental & DVD retail

Mira Sorvino plays a New York architect who takes a holiday in an upstate resort, where she falls for a blind masseur (Val Kilmer). She persuades him to undergo a revolutionary new operation to restore his sight, but as Kilmer tries to negotiate the world after a lifetime of blindness, cracks appear in their relationship. The story itself - based on a study by Oliver Sacks - is fascinating, though neither the director nor Kilmer seem capable of conveying the man's extraordinary experience. The enduring feeling is one of missed opportunity and unnecessary schmaltz.

My Name is Joe (18)

FilmFour, retail

In Ken Loach's most recent social drama, Peter Mullan plays Joe, a recovering alcoholic who bears the weight of Glasgow's social problems on his shoulders. In an effort to shake off the guilt of his past, he runs a local football team and helps his cousin Liam to stay off smack. But while Joe is patently the good guy, Loach resists painting him as a hero and, thanks to Mullan's searing performance, the rage of his former days bubbles visibly under the surface. There are inspired moments of light-heartedness, too, as well as a romance between Joe and a health visitor that will make your stomach go soft.

The Third Man (PG)

Warner, retail

Based on Graham Greene's novella and set in post-war Vienna, The Third Man is the story of an American novelist, Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten), chasing the shadow of his old friend Harry Lime. Orson Welles plays Lime, a racketeer whose rakish charm survives our realisation that his trade in diluted penicillin is causing women and children to die. Reed employs wonderfully stylised camerawork to convey the confusion felt by Martins and the crookedness of an ailing post-war Vienna. What's more, the film eschews the standard Hollywood ending where justice and the girl are rightfully won. A classic.