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Cannes 2012: Tim Roth – the Brit in the hot seat | reviews, news & interviews

Cannes 2012: Tim Roth – the Brit in the hot seat

Cannes 2012: Tim Roth – the Brit in the hot seat

Tim Roth stars in British film Broken, while Argentina flies the flag for arthouse minimalism

Trouble in the close: Tim Roth and Eloise Laurence in 'Broken'

It's a real pleasure to see Tim Roth strutting his stuff in Cannes, on screen and off. Roth knows the place well, having been here as an actor in Pulp Fiction, and as the director of The War Zone. This year he’s president of the jury for the un certain regard section of the festival – the second rung of the official selection, but often containing the more adventurous material. The role suits a man whose own career choices have been constantly edgy and surprising.

“I’m hoping and expecting to find our deliberations excruciating,” he declares wonderfully in the programme.

Roth is also starring in a British film here, Broken (conveniently in another section of the Cannes behemoth, Critics’ Week, so he doesn’t have to judge himself). The cinema debut by theatre director Rufus Norris, it presents something of a suburban nightmare, which involves family dysfunction, mental disturbance, school bullying and assault – and that doesn’t even take account of the climax.

cillian murphySurprisingly, given some of his more psychotic roles, Roth is one of the few calm characters on the block, as well as the old head who anchors the movie, as the single, doting father whose young daughter (engaging newcomer Eloise Laurence) is at the heart of the action. Cillian Murphy (pictured left, with Roth) is the other familiar face, as a well-meaning school teacher who might think twice about the next parent-teacher meeting. There are moments that shake and sadden, not least those involving a trio of rampantly evil sisters who would put Macbeth’s witches in the shade; but it’s also schematic and over-egged, with the conspicuous feel of an accomplished director learning how to play with his new box of tricks.

The Savages is also in Critics’ Week, and also features young people of ferocious temperaments, but is an entirely different kind of cinema. Specifically, it is a certain brand of Argentine movie-making defined by a narrative minimalism, whose chief but by no means only proponent is Lisandro Alonso, and which leaves the audience with a great deal to do.

It becomes a question of what will kill them first – nature, or each otherDirected by Alejandro Fadel, it observes a group of teenage miscreants as they break out of a juvenile detention centre and escape into the surrounding wilderness. They seem to have a plan, to trek across the mountains to their ringleader’s godfather’s home, and sanctuary. But soon their various ill natures tear the group apart and it becomes a question of what will kill them first – nature, or each other.

There is barely any dialogue, while motivations and plot developments are often vague. Yet the images are sumptuous, and the brooding, malevolent tone absorbing. It would take a brave distributor to bring a film like this to Britain, but here’s hoping.


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