FILM: RECORDED DELIVERY
John Duigan's charming examination of sleazy suburbia showcases the brilliantly bolshy talents of 11-year-old Mischa Barton. She plays a precocious young girl, Devon - the offspring of pretentious middle-class parents - who befriends Trent (Sam Rockwell), a local lawnmower man. The underlying tension of their relationship is delicately handled and appears touching next to the depraved conduct of her family. Her mother is having a fling with a local lad, Brett - who, in turn, tries to molest Devon. Along with the contrasting textures and sharp photography, it is Devon's disarming insight into human behaviour and her withering one-liners that make this one of the most exceptional films of last year. HHHH
Seven Years In Tibet (PG) Entertainment, rental, 15 Jun
Brad Pitt and David Thewlis - as incongruous a pair of actors as the characters they play - are Heinrich Harrer and Peter Aufschnaiter, mountaineers with designs on a particularly chilly Himalayan peak. Instead, they are arrested by British soldiers and placed in a PoW camp (more of a youth hostel, it seems). After escaping the camp dressed as panto Indians, they arrive, lice-ridden and starving, at the hidden city of Lhasa in Tibet. Jean-Jacques Annaud's picture is spectacularly shot and immensely decorative, though it sadly lacks substance. In his striving to make Harrer dislikeable, Pitt's bigoted German (whose Nazi sympathies, incidentally, are conspicuously ignored) becomes more in keeping with a Harry Enfield sketch. His relationship with the Dalai Lama is also trivialised, and is depicted as being based more upon his unwitting irreverence than his capacity to share the wisdom of the Western world. HH
Father's Day (12) Warner, rental, 19 Jun
In Ivan Reitman's deeply embarrassing comedy, Nastassja Kinski sends Robin Williams, Billy Crystal and Bruce Greenwood in pursuit of her absconded 17-year-old son - since she has got no idea which of them is the father. A particularly indecorous scene sees Crystal and Williams observed by a porter hosing down the inebriated teenager in the shower. Grinning all the while, the porter swears his silence, noting that he has seen much worse. That may be the case, but I certainly haven't. H
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