I was a big fan of the first film (my review). I spoke extensively about the quality of films featuring older, more experienced actors. This movie? That thing I said: same thing again. That’s not a particularly bad thing. I liked the first movie. It had an amazing cast, a funny, but understated, script and a simple, heart-warming message. This is more of the same and the same is pretty good.
Despite it seemingly being tailor-fit to my taste, this completely failed to register on my radar when it was released. It was only when I started researching movies to include in this Month of A.I. that I discovered it.
I start off my month of A.I. with one of the movies I was most looking forward to. Neill Blomkamp [IMDB] , despite having a name that sounds like an expensive sex act, has brought us some of the best, most thought provoking science fiction of the past decade. That said, he’s not the most subtle, or even the most original, writer. District 9 [IMDB] was an incisive, if blunt, commentary on the inherent disaster of institutionalized inequality. Elysium’s [IMDB] Haves-versus-Have-Nots theme was even less elegant, but effectively timeless regardless.
This one screams “INDIE!” louder than Marion Ravenwood in a basket. It’s a very small, tight cast: only five people total, two of which you barely see. It’s shot in, essentially, a single location: a lonely house on a deserted island. It has a good, but not quite “A” list, cast that probably brings more effort to the material than it really deserves. It also, by law, has a healthy collection of twist endings.
I’ve unfortunately lost track of anime in the last few years. I’d keep up with the latest releases from Studio Ghibli and the odd TV show, but overall I just didn’t maintain my interest as I once had. Dipping my toe back in, I looked for recommendations and this kept getting mentioned.
This is exactly the kind of simple, quiet indie drama that causes film festival attendees to drool. Unfortunately it’s also the kind that send most other people running to see more ‘splosions and superstars. Yes, a move like this is a lot of work, but given the chance it can pay off.
This movie is about LARPing. If you don’t know what this is, think “grown-up dress-up party with rubber swords”. If you do know what that is you’re probably really pissed-off that I just called it a “grown-up dress-up party with rubber swords”. Don’t be mad – no offense intended – just trying to reach a middle ground.
I was, honestly, wholly confused by this one as I walked away. The story was standard, but well done. Jack (John Lynch [IMDB]) is an older, well-heeled, model prisoner near to release. Paul (Martin Compston [IMDB]) is a vulnerable young newbie being targeted by the violent rapist that controls the block. When Jack decides to befriend and protect Paul he risks his freedom and his life.
I’ll admit to a bit of a chip on my shoulder going into this. The casting of a now officially elderly Robert Englund [IMDB] seemed more stunt than substance (even if he does a decent British accent). How could a near-seventy year-old man possibly work as the protagonist of a slasher flick?