fear

One of the challenges of writing up reviews the day after, is trying to remember, without looking at the programme, which films I saw yesterday; or simply the names of the films I saw so I can get the links right for more info on the film itself. I figure you can get proper info via either the festival links or just looking them up on good ol’ IMDB. Today I was able to recall both titles but I think that is because it is Saturday and I’ve had a decent sleep in; my head feels clear, or at least clearer. On the downside, while both films were ok, I wasn’t especially enamoured by either.

First up was an american film called Take Shelter, directed by Jeff Nichols. Oddly, this has probably got one of the highest ratings of any of the filmfest films on the IMDB. I say oddly, because I’d probably put this one in the middle somewhere and is further proof, not that I needed any, that IMDB ratings should be ignored. This was mostly about fear and I spent the film in a somewhat anxious space – I’m generally not fond of films that make that sort of play and it would have been good if the film could have deepened that effect and gone somewhere with it. Unfortunately it didn’t really scratch the surface and skated over the big issues. It was ostensibly about a chap becoming increasingly concerned that he’s suffering from schizophrenia, particularly as there’s a history of it in his family. At the same time, that is paired with the suggestion that his fears might actually be a premonition of future events. It doesn’t really deal with that conjecture effectively and ultimately peters out I think.

The second film, Jane Eyre, from the UK, directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga. Yet another period remake from english literature, as the lead actress commented: there are at least 22 other film versions out there. This looked good on the big screen and was lushly shot. Though at the same time it felt sparse and lacking in passion. I didn’t really feel engaged with the film and felt that some of the crucial aspects of the story were underplayed (rather than downplayed). Big confrontational moments were either ignored, or rushed through. It did create a nice undercurrent and I enjoyed some of the conversational exchange, but it seemed to lack the emotional peaks that I sensed from the story. I say that as someone who has not read the book, and the only other film version I’ve seen was a black and white piece when I was much younger. In many respects, while knowing the broad outline of the story, and its twists, I was still viewing the movie with relatively fresh eyes.

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