wed 22/09/2021

drama

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain review - visually arresting biopic

On its surface, a biopic of a late-Victorian artist starring big British talents including Benedict Cumberbatch, Andrea Riseborough and Claire Foy, sounds like typical awards fare for this time of year. Will Sharpe, best-known for directing the dark...

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The Nest review – intriguing, off-kilter family drama

The Nest is a peculiar animal, hard to nail down, parts family drama and social satire, but with a creepy sense of suspense rippling under the surface that threatens to bust the plot wide open. The fact that it’s written and directed by...

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Paradise, National Theatre review - war, woe, and a glimmer of hope

Philoctetes, Odysseus, Neoptolemus: the men’s names in Sophocles’ Philoctetes are all unnecessarily long and weighed down by expectations. Poet Kae Tempest’s lyrical new adaptation for the National Theatre focuses on the chorus, spinning out the...

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CODA review - warm-hearted comedy about growing up in a Deaf family

When CODA opened Sundance in May, it was an instant hit with that liberal, kindly audience and was snapped up by Disney at great expense. It’s easy to see why – CODA is a funny, easy-to-watch coming of age comedy that allows viewers to feel warm and...

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The Father review - gripping dementia drama

Florian Zeller: the name might not be familiar in the world of cinema. But watch this space. His stage play Le Père was widely praised, made its way to Broadway and, following the success, the young French director has adapted it into The Father, a...

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The Mauritanian review – moving 9/11 drama

Whether he’s making documentaries or dramas, director Kevin Macdonald has an eye for the bleak moments in our history, and a dynamic way of recreating them, from the Oscar-winning doc Four Days in September, about the Munich massacre, to the...

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Wander Darkly review - bold psychodrama falls short

Like the sun-happy LA of this film’s setting, there’s a hard-to-pinpoint sham quality to Wander Darkly. It feels like too much phoney dialogue crept in to the final script of this “serious” film by writer-director Tara Miele. Sienna Miller is a...

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Berlinale 2021: Petite Maman review – magical musings on the parent-child relationship

Hot on the heels of her 2019 triumph Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Céline Sciamma’s fifth feature continues a perfect track record; this is yet another gorgeous and perceptive film, told from a determinedly female perspective but with a wisdom...

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Judas and the Black Messiah review - powerful biopic

One of the sadnesses of covid is that films like Judas and the Black Messiah have been held over for release in the hope that cinemas will reopen. Immersive, intense features like this deserve to be seen in a darkened theatre with no...

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Malcolm & Marie review - actorly grandstanding in beautiful black and white

Do you want to spend 105 minutes trapped in a house with two people arguing, or do you already feel that your life under lockdown is quite quarrelsome and claustrophobic enough? If your answer is the former, then Malcolm & Marie is the...

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The Dig, Netflix review - a haunting exploration of time and timelessness

The Sutton Hoo burial site in Suffolk has proved to be one of the most valuable archaeological finds ever made in Britain, shedding priceless light on the Anglo-Saxon period of the 6th and 7th Centuries. Simon Stone’s drama (adapted from John...

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Persian Lessons review - confusing Holocaust drama

This is an odd film, made even odder by a caption near the beginning, which claims it is "inspired by true events" but doesn’t elaborate. Produced in Belarus, it’s a Holocaust drama based on a novella by the veteran East German screenwriter/director...

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