Review: Maleficent (2014)

Maleficent

The classic tale of Sleeping Beauty is revised in Maleficent, a dark revenge thriller that relies heavily on a steely, captivating performance from Angelina Jolie as the titular villain to earn its wings. A beautiful and inquisitive child, Maleficent (Jolie) leads an idyllic life, until she’s ruthlessly betrayed by the neighbouring humans. Years later, intent on revenge, she curses the king’s newborn child Aurora (Elle Fanning) – an act she soon regrets. Continue reading “Review: Maleficent (2014)”

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Review: Somewhere (2010)

After the candid and poorly-recieved Marie Antoinette, Sofia Coppola returns to familiar ground with her fourth feature Somewhere, a low-key and heartfelt exploration of love and atonement.

The film is a portrait of Hollywood actor Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff), who has settled into a life filled with booze, pole dancers, sex and reliance on prescription drugs.

When his daughter, Cleo (Fanning), is thrust into his protection, he’s forced to re-examine his life and find a way to take care of his daughter.

Almost the entire film is set at the famous Chateau Marmont in California. A character in itself, the hotel can be interpreted as a type of purgatory. Johnny’s desires are so easily gratified that he’s left with no inclination or need to leave it’s confinements. It’s almost a metaphor of his own uncertain place in life.

Stephen Dorff delivers a nuanced, troubled performance as off-the-rails Johnny, something that is exemplified in the scenes with Fanning’s Cleo.

Futhermore, Fanning is wonderful as the devoted and fragile daughter, providing a wholly astute and bewitching performance that compliments Dorff’s absolutely.

The immediate lack of on screen tension and any real progression towards an absolute end in the narrative may unfortunately dispel some movie-goers but, then again, Sofia Coppola’s style has never been for everyone.

For those, however, who do admire Sofia Coppola’s attention-to-detail – highlighted perfectly by Harris Savides’ mesmerising cinematography – Somewhere is a powerful, well-directed piece that, despite it’s slow-burning pace and lack of finite conclusion, deserves attention.