Review: Life Of Crime (2013)

Life Of Crime

Adapted for the screen by writer-director Daniel Schechter, Life Of Crime is a slow-burning, character-driven adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s novel The Switch that never quite reaches its full potential, yet sparkles nonetheless. Louis (John Hawkes) and Ordell (Mos Def), two small time crooks, hatch a plan to kidnap Mickey (Jennifer Aniston), the wife of businessman Frank (Tim Robbins). Continue reading “Review: Life Of Crime (2013)”

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Review: Lincoln (2013)

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Lincoln, based in part on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team Of Rivals: The Political Genius Of Abraham Lincoln, sees director Steven Spielberg dramatising the 16th President of the United States’ final few months in office to varied results. In 1865, as the American Civil War nears its conclusion after four years of bloody combat, Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) takes it upon himself to pass the landmark constitutional amendment and rid America of slavery: the main reason Continue reading “Review: Lincoln (2013)”

Review: Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)

Since its conception in 1981, Sundance has been the launchpad for many of the best independent films. Luckily for Sean Durkin, writer and director of last year’s festival stand-out Martha Marcy May Marlene, he found himself in pole position when his psychological thriller about one woman’s escape from a commune became the talk of Salt Lake City.

Told through parallel, non-linear narratives that represent its central character’s rapidly deteriorating mindset, Martha Marcy May Marlene tells of Continue reading “Review: Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)”

Review: Winter’s Bone (2010)

Winter’s Bone is a vivid adaptation Daniel Woodrell’s crime novel set in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, Missouri.

17 year-old Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) is responsible for keeping her family together in a dirt poor rural area. When the local Sheriff (Garret Dillahunt) tells her that her father put up their house as collateral for his bail, Ree sets off to find her errant father, digging up some very dangerous secrets in the process.

Debra Granik brings this bleak environment to life through her flawless attention-to-detail, her keen eye capturing the landscape’s undertones beautifully. Granik tells the story as naturalistic drama, punctuating thrills throughout to keep them authentic and unexpected.

The most obvious example of this is through the character of Teardrop, Ree’s uncle, whom she asks for help. John Hawkes’ performance as Teardrop is haunting, verging on sadistic as it’s never made clear to Ree, or to the audience, whether he will help Ree, assault her, or kill her.

Lawrence’s performance as Ree is a truly stand-out piece of acting, transposing her apparent emotional intelligence and warmth with the incredible pressure she’s under to keep her family alive.

Winter’s Bone is a realistic, engaging and fearless film about transgression and the consequences of digging into the past, showcasing a truly magnificent, afflicting performance from Jennifer Lawrence.