thriller

Eye in the Sky

March 17, 2016
Aaron Paul in 'Eye in the Sky' (2015)

“Something inherent in the necessities of successful action,’ wrote Joseph Conrad in Nostromo,’ carried with it the moral degradation of the idea.” He could be describing the contemporary ‘war on terror’, in which the efficient use of drones makes a mockery of the idea of the nobility of armed conflict. There’s nothing romantic about sending … More


Son of Saul

February 25, 2016
Géza Röhrig in 'Son of Saul' (2015)

Son of Saul is not the kind of film that will draw large, admiring audiences. Set in the concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944, it is the latest manifestation of the cinema’s morbid fascination with the Holocaust. It’s a topic that generates a pre-emptive sense of emotional fatigue, as there is only so much horror … More


The Revenant

January 7, 2016
Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Revenant' (2015)

When he was receiving the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director at last year’s Academy Awards, Alejandro González Iñárritu, was already preoccupied with his next feature. He had begun planning The Revenant as early as 2011 but put it on hold when lead actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, was required for The Wolf of Wall Street. … More


Spectre

November 12, 2015
Daniel Craig in 'Spectre' (2015)

Each new James Bond movie arrives like a cinematic tsunami. You know it’s coming, and that it’s completely unstoppable. If all the critics in the world decided that Spectre was rubbish it would make very little impression on the box office. A Bond film, regardless of its merits and demerits, is a ‘Must See’. I … More


Legend

October 16, 2015
Tom Hardy in 'Legend' (2015)

Ronnie and Reggie Kray will forever be linked with the Monty Python sketch about the Piranha Brothers, Doug and Dinsdale. As you may recall, Dinsdale – “a cruel man, but fair” – liked to nail the occasional head to the floor, while Doug’s preferred weapon was sarcasm. There are plenty of moments in Legend, Brian … More


Cut Snake

September 25, 2015
Sullivan Stapleton in 'Cut Snake' (2014)

It’s a chilling prospect but we seem to be in the midst of a seventies revival. A growing number of new films are either set in the seventies or draw upon the music of that era. The latest is Tony Ayres’s Cut Snake, which takes us on an anti-nostalgic journey through the Australian suburban sprawl, … More


The Gift

September 5, 2015
Jason Bateman in 'The Gift' (2015)

Most boys from the western suburbs of Sydney would be content with the life of a Hollywood actor, but Joel Edgerton has recently revealed an exceptional talent as a writer of screenplays. Now comes The Gift, his debut feature as a director, and it’s an impressive achievement. Not only has Edgerton written the script and … More


Self/less

August 1, 2015
Ryan Reynolds in 'Self/less' (2015)

Tarsem Singh’s Self/less is another movie that strives for profundity but has no qualms about including the special effects, car chases and combat scenes discerning viewers seem to expect nowadays. Even allowing for these concessions to public taste the film has copped a hiding in the United States. It may have something to do with … More


Marshland

June 6, 2015
Raul Arevalo in 'Marshland' (2014)

Anyone desperately seeking filmic distraction would be better advised to track down Alberto Rodríguez’s Marshland, a gripping mystery-thriller set in a desolate part of southern Spain at the end of the Franco era. The problem is that this movie will only score a limited release while Aloha screens in every multiplex. A pair of ill-matched … More


Partisan

June 6, 2015
Vincent Cassel in 'Partisan' (2015)

With a brutal civil war, followed by three decades of dictatorial rule, there’s no denying Spain’s sufferings, but nowadays the Spaniards are making great movies. I wonder if Australian cinema, conversely, is showing the symptoms of decades of peace and prosperity. Compared to the wars and political upheavals that have beset other countries, Australia has … More