crime

Mystery Road & Exposed

October 19, 2013
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Before Mel Gibson got a real American accent, the film Mad Max (1979) was dubbed to make it acceptable to a United States audience. Is that Australian twang still a barrier to international success? Ivan Sen’s Mystery Road should answer this question. The accents could hardly be more Australian but the film is pitched firmly … More


The Act of Killing & Rush

October 5, 2013
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There are limits to a social conscience. When a film has attracted every possible superlative it takes on the status of a must-see event, but after about ten minutes you know The Act of Killing will be both sickening and unforgettable. As one deadpan horror follows another in an interminable procession, many viewers will decide … More


Stoker & The Best Offer

August 31, 2013
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There was a moment in the 1980s when Australian directors such as Bruce Beresford, Peter Weir and Gillian Armstrong heard the siren call of Hollywood and went to make films in the United States. It seems this alluring melody is now drifting towards South Korea, with directors such as Park Chan-wook (Oldboy), Bong Joon-ho (The … More


The Bling Ring & Beyond the Hills

August 10, 2013
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Sofia Coppola says she didn’t grow up in Hollywood and has never been a part of the subculture she anatomises in The Bling Ring. Yet Coppola, who has been in the film industry since birth, may be the perfect director to explore a notorious crime spree in which celebrities’ homes were burglarised by a group … More


Man of Steel & Everybody Has a Plan

July 6, 2013
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When comic book heroes are turned into sensitive brooding souls, there is something twisted in our culture. We’ve seen a tortured Batman and now an angst-ridden Superman filled with anxiety about his true identity and how people might react to his superpowers. To complete the psychological profile the new Superman has a difficult childhood. He … More


Farewell My Queen & Fast and Furious 6

June 8, 2013
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Everyone knows the story of doomed, frivolous Marie Antoinette whose life of pampered luxury was ended by the guillotine. The Queen’s personality was established in filmmakers’ minds by Stefan Zweig’s best-selling biography of 1932, subtitled The Portrait of an Average Woman, and she has never been allowed to deviate too far from that model. Among … More


The Reluctant Fundamentalist & Sinister

May 25, 2013
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Mohsin Hamid says the structure of his novel of 2007, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, was partly based on Fred Zinnemann’s classic western, High Noon. Instead of Gary Cooper waiting for the baddies to arrive, we have a group of militant students in Lahore awaiting the police and a group of American agents. It sounds good in … More


The Place Beyond the Pines & Tabu

May 11, 2013
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Although I’m not much interested in the celebrity circuit, it was surprising to read, late last year, that Bradley Cooper had been named The Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine. By all accounts the most outraged constituency were fans of Ryan Gosling, the other Hollywood pin-up boy of our era. If it achieves nothing else, … More


Trance & Rust and Bone

April 6, 2013
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In a recent poll sponsored by HMV, Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting (1996) was voted the best British film of the past 60 years. Although such surveys have an unhappy resemblance to those ‘Greatest Hits of All Time’ polls run by commercial radio stations, Trainspotting deserves the kudos. It was a brilliantly original movie which sealed Boyle’s … More


Gangster Squad & You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger

January 19, 2013
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Rarely has a film ‘based on a true story’ seemed more like a fairy tale than Gangster Squad. If you go looking for the book behind the movie, as I did last week, then head for the True Crime section. Veteran journalist Paul Lieberman has penned a racy account of the real Gangster Squad – … More