Columbia Tristar, rental HHHH
Buffalo 66 may have been a shameless vanity project for writer- director-actor Vincent Gallo, but it is still essential viewing. The film begins as Billy Brown (Gallo) is released from prison. Unable to find a suitable place to pee, he is forced to kidnap Christina Ricci's teenage tap-dancer so that she can drive him to a suitable tree. He then alights upon an idea. Will she accompany him to his parent's house and pretend to be his wife? The picture is filmed with the same twitchiness that shapes Gallo's self-obsessed character, and with a keen eye for sordid detail. But best of all is Ricci's performance of slutty nonchalance, providing a glimpse of the delights to come in her next picture The Opposite of Sex.
Rien Ne Vas Plus (15)
Artificial Eye, rental HHHH
Claude Chabrol's 50th film is a diverting comedy thriller about an unlikely pair of small-time crooks (a feisty Isabelle Huppert and a taciturn Michel Serrault) who tour France in a camper van and painlessly con hotel conventioneers out of their cash. When they try to prise a smooth businessman (Francois Cluzet) away from a case full of money, they find they are out of their depth. Though the plot is run-of-the-mill, the film is lent weight by its exploration of Huppert and Serrault's relationship. Their nefarious plotting reveals a partnership that is as dependent on their deceit as it is on affection and director Claude Chabrol maintains an ambiguity about the true nature of their closeness throughout.
Le Bossu (15)
Fox Pathe, rental HHHH
This sumptuous swashbuckler, loosely based on Paul Feval's 1857 novel, trawls through every cliche in the book, to magnificent effect. Daniel Auteil shines as an acrobatic swordsman Lagardere who befriends Vincent Perez's Phillipe de Nevers after failing to perform his execution. When Nevers is unfairly slaughtered, Auteil vows to avenge his death and look after his baby daughter, Aurora. Extra spice is afforded to this well-trodden genre by occasional outbursts of stomach-churning violence - Legarde and de Nevers' fighting trademark consists of skewering their victims between the eyes with a sword. Even with its overblown script, melodramatic fighting sequences and irresistibly slushy romance, Le Bossu is a heady pleasure.
Primary Colors (15)
CIC, rental HHHH
Mike Nichols's compelling picture follows Governor Stanton's (John Travolta) campaign for the Democratic Presidential nomination. Inevitably, Stanton is liberal with his sexual favours - one of his minions remarks that "he's poked his pecker in some sorry trash-bins" - and Travolta gives an uncanny impression of Clinton. Emma Thompson's Hillaryesque wife is also played with a cool blend of ambition and frustration while Adrian Lester is brilliant as the somewhat green political ingenue who is both seduced and repelled by his boss. Though Primary Colors offers food for thought in the light of recent events, Nichols remains disappointingly on the fence and this is still not a patch on the real-life politics in the US.Reuse content