Showing posts with label 2014. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2014. Show all posts

Monday, 19 May 2014

The Two Faces of January

The Two Faces of January is an interesting little film written and directed by Hossein Amini, a man best known for penning the script of Drive. Here Amini delivers another taught script set in early 1960s Greece. American tour guide and part time swindler Rydal (Oscar Isaac) gives tours to unsuspecting travellers in the Greek capital Athens and one day comes across an American couple with whom he strikes up conversation and a brief friendship. The tour guide is charmed by the couple and drawn to their wealth and beauty but when it becomes apparent that the couple aren’t quite as well refined and put together as they first appear, Rydal helps them to evade those hunting them before becoming embroiled in their strange and murky circumstances.

There were two things that attracted me to this movie. The first was the name Amini. I was curious to see the screenwriter’s directorial debut and was interested in his script. The second factor was Viggo Mortensen. At this stage in the actor’s career I feel as though I can pretty much trust that if he’s agreed to be in it, it will be good enough to see. Mortensen does indeed impress and his choice of role is once again solid. The movie is about surface and sheen and the attraction that bright and beautiful things hold while under the surface bubbles something more sinister. There’s an uneasy feeling which envelops the film and it stabs through the false surface from time to time in a wonderfully calm but out of control manner.


Sixty years after his debut screen appearance, Godzilla is back on our screens in his second American guise. For anyone who remembers the 1998 Roland Emmerich version, this news may legitimately cause trepidation. My interest in the picture came about when I heard that the new film was to be directed by second time director Gareth Edwards. For nearly half a decade since Edwards’ first film, I’ve been telling anyone I can get my hands on to watch his film Monsters. That movie was outstanding; an ultra low budget monster-thinker which Edwards wrote, directed, shot and edited himself besides doing all of the FX work in his bedroom. In comparison to that movie, Godzilla is a let down.

Things start well with an interesting and attractive titles sequence which gives a slight spin on the traditional Godzilla back story. The film postulates that the atomic tests of the 1950s were in fact not tests at all but an elaborate attempt to destroy the gigantic titular beast. Fast forward several decades and we find Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) hard at work as the supervisor of a Japanese Nuclear Power Plant. Brody is concerned by strange seismic patterns which are unlike any earthquake he’s seen before. In fact he’s convinced there are no earthquakes at all.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

At The Back At The Tribeca Film Festival

Late last month, a scheduled trip to New York happened to coincide with The Tribeca Film Festival. When I discovered this a couple of weeks before crossing the Atlantic, I immediately looked into the possibility of going to see some films and was fortunate to find the time to squeeze three in. With only six days in the greatest city on the planet, I wouldn’t have been able to justify any more than this. Tribeca was my first film festival and overall I had a positive experience. The event was well run by knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff while the locations were excellent. The cinemas themselves were less desirable however. The three screenings we went to were situated in two theatres, both multiplexes and both with very shallow seating rakes. At 6’ 3” I still struggled to see through the heads of those in front of me and was very conscious of the views I was obstructing behind. I’m not sure if this is consistent with all American cinemas but on the only other occasion that I’ve seen a film in the States, in the same city, a year before, there was no issue. Anyway, I digress.

The first film we saw was Night Moves at the AMC Loews Village 7 on 3rd Avenue. Both my girlfriend and I were excited and nervous about our first film festival experience and eagerly joined the long line outside the theatre. Night Moves is a drama with a political edge. Directed by Kelly Reichardt (Meek’s Cutoff) It stars Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard as environmentalists who plan to blow up a dam in rural Oregon. The film initially reminded me of The East, thematically at least but it soon becomes apparent that this is a significantly smarter film which takes a different direction. It doesn’t bombard the audience with back story or justification for the crimes. It assumes that the audience is clever enough to understand their motivation. The central characters also remain half hidden and you’re never sure if they’re showing their real selves to each other or the audience. The planning and preparation are interesting and the execution of the dam’s destruction is incredibly tense. What follows soon after is rather predictable but the character’s transformations surprise.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America (Chris Evans) returns in his second solo outing to sniff out the rotten core at the heart of S.H.I.E.L.D. When an attempt is made on the life of a senior S.H.I.E.L.D executive, Captain Steve Rodgers finds himself on the outside of a conspiracy and on the run. With the help of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and newcomer to the series, Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Cap’ must hunt down those who have sworn to protect and comes across a figure from his past in the process.

When the first Captain America movie came out in 2011, I expected it to be the Marvel film that I’d enjoy most. I’m a lover of history and am fascinated by the 1940s, especially the Second World War. It was surprising then that I enjoyed it far less than any other of the Marvel films to that date. I’m glad to say that Winter Soldier is an improvement on the original but still lags some way behind the likes of Thor and Iron Man for me.

I’ll start with what I enjoyed about the movie as that will take less time. I think that the themes are strong and well realised. By turning S.H.I.E.L.D, or at least elements of it, into the bad guys, the film holds a mirror up to the intelligence community. After years of reports about NSA bugs, CIA phone tapping and MI5 interference, the writers pick up a strong idea and run with it. By putting those who are meant to protect us under the spotlight, we get a glimpse into a shady and easily corruptible world. The positioning of S.H.I.E.L.D’s headquarters, high above the Washington skyline, is also a strong visual metaphor. The movie asks us, who is really in charge? What are their powers and if they’re watching us, who’s watching them?

Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Double

Richard Ayoade’s second film and follow up to 2010’s critically acclaimed Submarine is The Double, a dark comedy based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s satirical novella of the same name. Set in a subterranean hinterland of unknowable time and location, the film follows the life of lonely, ignored and unseen data imputer Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg). Simon floats through life unnoticed by those around him, stating that he feels as though people could almost reach through him as though he wasn’t there. When a new co-worker is introduced, Simon is shocked to discover that he looks and sounds exactly like himself. His doppelgänger though is everything he is not; cocky, outgoing and highly visible.

The Double could easily have been a film that was known for its story. Based on the work of one of the literary greats of the nineteenth century, the film has the narrative already safely mapped out and it indeed delivers an interesting and complex story. In the hands of Ayoade though, this film will be remembered for more; chiefly its design and sound. Richard Ayoade has constructed a magnificent film that evokes so much but remains unique. It’s beautiful and funny, grim and depressing all in equal measure.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Under the Skin

It’s been ten years since Jonathan Glazer’s last film and nearly a decade and a half since his wonderful screen début Sexy Beast. His third film, Under the Skin, is a dark and chilling science fiction horror, loosely based on Michael Faber’s 2000 novel of the same name. It stars Scarlett Johansson as an alien who preys on men, using her siren like looks and charm to pull them towards the rocks and to their demise. The movie is incredible, at times getting close to the best I’ve seen in cinema. It veers wildly though towards the opposite extreme with passages of nothingness which reminded me of the torrid time I had while watching Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. Extremes exist elsewhere too with sequences which wouldn’t look out of place in an art gallery side by side with almost documentary style shooting, filmed with hidden cameras.

The film opens with an abstract scene, perhaps the formation of an eye or the creation of a being. It signals birth or re-birth and sets us up for what is to come. From the very first moments we know this is going to be unlike anything we’ve seen before and it doesn’t disappoint in that regard. The opening establishes the link between the known and unknown, creating tantalising glimpses into who or what we are about to be confronted with before concluding on the recognisable image of an eye, at first still, then moving, depicting consciousness. Although it – or she – may well be aware of her surroundings, the alien shows no emotion regarding what she sees. She’s a cold machine, showing not even contempt for her victims. She’s focussed and has a singular task. In one of the film’s most horrifying scenes, a baby is left stranded on a beach. Though screeching for help, she’s ignored by the strange visitor who acts coldly, even blindly to the presence of the child. As humans we want to protect and mother the infant but to the alien, its screams don’t even register. It’s a scene that sent chills down my spine.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The latest picture from auteur director Wes Anderson is in my opinion, his finest to date. A typically lavish and exquisitely designed movie, it stars Ralph Fiennes as M. Gustav H, a respected concierge at The Grand Budapest Hotel. Pitched as a sort of cross between a Palatial residence and the hotel from The Shining, The Grand Budapest is seen in all its splendour during the majority of the film. The movie opens however around thirty years after the events to be depicted in, at a time during which the grand old hotel is but a shadow of its former self. The action is depicted in flashback, from the memories of Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori), a once Lobby Boy and apprentice to the aforementioned Gustav H.

In 1932, Gustav H. is seeing off one of his many elder lady friends, a rich widow by the name of Madame D. (Tilda Swinton). Gustav’s charms have lead to an on off affair which has lasted for many years and she is upset to be leaving the hotel over which he holds sway. Days later the woman is dead. Gustav H. rushes to her Estate in the hope that his romantic efforts have written himself in the will and sure enough discovers that they have. The deceased’s son (Adrien Brody) is outraged at the reading of the will and accuses the concierge of murder. Gustav H. is soon on the run and ends up under lock and key inside an intimidating maximum security jail.

Thursday, 20 February 2014


Spike Jonze’s Her is a sweet, poignant and yet gently chilling romantic comedy about a man who falls in love with his computer’s operating system. Nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture, it’s been met with critical acclaim. It features a fascinating conceit which is deeply explored and contains some beautiful set and costume design as well as some exceptional performances. Why is it then that I found it as cold as a hibernating laptop?

It’s 2025 and Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) is a letter writer in Los Angeles. His marriage has failed and he’s delaying the signing of his divorce papers, holding out for a second chance which he knows is never going to come. Desperately lonely, he’s become a slight recluse, distancing himself from friends while maintaining a false sunny disposition in their company. One day Theodore sports a newly released operating system (OS) in a mall, one which promises to learn and adapt, whose artificial intelligence is designed to be more than a computer but to be a friend. Samantha (Scarlett Johansson) as the OS calls herself, becomes Theodore’ friend and soon, his lover. 

Monday, 17 February 2014

The LEGO Movie

Before I compose my thoughts on hit animation The Lego Movie, you need to know a little about me. I quite like Lego. OK, that’s a slight understatement. You could say I enjoy Lego more than the average person. To be perfectly honest, I’m days away from my twenty-eighth birthday and live in a house in which the spare room is begrudgingly titled ‘the Lego room’ by my long suffering girlfriend. I love collecting the stuff, building it, looking at it and have even dabbled in stop motion animation. Hello everyone, my name’s Tom and I’m a Legoaholic. Attempting to put aside my love of the brightly coloured Danish bricks, I saw The Lego Movie and came to the conclusion that, it. is. awesome.

Bought to life via the minds of the wacky duo behind the insanely fun Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, The Lego Movie combines stop motion and GCI animation. Injected with copious amounts of wit and childish humour, it’s unleashed on an imaginative world, packed full of recognisable characters. One of Lego’s strengths in recent years has been its ever expanding universe, creating tie-ins with popular movie franchises. Added to the company’s long history of inventive subjects and sets, the film is given a blank canvas to fill with all manner of characters and creations. The movie’s central theme is that of creativity and individualism and no toy typifies this more than Lego. The main narrative is as unoriginal as a knock-knock joke but it’s surrounded by a colourful universe into which all manner of surprises and joke are crammed. Like a cardboard box surrounded by an acid trip, it’s expanded, melted, twisted and contorted until something hilarious plops out of the backside of a psychedelic aardvark.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Dallas Buyers Club

About four or five years ago, I couldn’t imagine being excited about a Matthew McConaughey film but then came his McConaissance and on the back of tremendous performances in the likes of Killer Joe, Mud and The Wolf of Wall Street, he’s quickly becoming one of my favourite actors of recent times. I still can’t believe it. His latest provides us with perhaps his finest performance to date and accompanies a terrific film which instantly becomes one of my favourites of the young year.

Based on a true story, McConaughey plays Ron Woodroof, a Texan rodeo cowboy come electrician who enjoys women, beer, drugs, women and women. Having been obviously sick for a while, he is taken to hospital and when wakes, is given the shocking news that he has HIV. This being mid 1980s Texas, Woodroof is, shall we say, taken aback by the news but more worried about accusations that he’s homosexual or ‘faggot’ as he rather ineloquently puts it. After denial and some research plus a stint in a hospital south of the border, Ron discovers that he can help himself and fellow HIV patients by smuggling unapproved medicine into the USA, a decision that puts him on a collision course with the FDA and the American Justice Department.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Inside Llewyn Davis

As with any new Coen brothers film, I eagerly anticipated the release of Inside Llewyn Davis and the good things I’d heard from America before its UK release only added to my excitement. The fact that it’s taken close to a week to write something about the film though, might tell you something about my reaction to the movie. Unfortunately I left the cinema feeling disappointed. I’d go so far as to say that I didn’t really like or even enjoy the film and the last week or so has found me struggling to find a spin on it so that I could reward it with a favourable review. Alas I’m out of time so here’s what I think.

To put it bluntly, the film did little for me. I wasn’t entertained and was rarely amused. I didn’t get much from the story and disliked the central character. It left me feeling cold and uninterested and I never got on board with Llewyn, willing him on to succeed. Instead I just thought he was a bit of a dick. His misfortunes were often his own and his undoubted talent was clouded by his personality. Although the Coens’ attempt to present other characters even less favourably, I still wanted nothing to do with him and was only happy when he was singing.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Ranking the Directors

A few days ago I re-watched Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained and began thinking about how highly I've rated the vast majority of his films. I wondered exactly what ratings I'd given his movies so went through my reviews and calculated the average, thus combining two things I love; movies and statistics (I'm fun, I know). I then replicated this with Charlie Chaplin, the man who I consider to be my favourite film maker. Seeing as I'd already done these two, I thought I might as well go through my entire blog and work out the mean average mark I'd given directors. To be fair, I've created two categories, one for directors for whom I've reviewed more than three films and one group for those directors for whom I've reviewed exactly three films. Anything less than that has been ignored. The results surprised me as many of the directors who I consider my favourites, rank lower than those who I'd consider less important to me. Below are the two lists.

Park Chan-wook. 9.3 from five films. Park ranks as my favourite director in terms of average and is also amongst my favourites generally. His Oldboy is one of my favourite films of all time and his first American movie, Stoker, also impressed me last year, making my Top 10 of 2013 list.

Billy Wilder. 8.0 from four films. Twelve months ago I'd never seen a Billy Wilder film but now I count some of his films amongst my favourites. I was blown away by Sunset Boulevard and The Apartment and his average would have been much higher if I'd enjoyed Sabrina more. I can't wait to see more of his movies.

Quentin Tarantino 7.8 from ten films. There is only one Tarantino film which I haven't loved and if it wasn't for Death Proof, his average would probably be over 8. Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction are 10/10 films for me.

Werner Herzog 7.6 from eight films. Had I split Herzog's documentaries and features, the result here would have been quite different. I much prefer the likes of Encounters at the End of the World to Aguirre.

Alfred Hitchcock 7.5 from thirteen films. I was a late convert to Hitchcock and with only thirteen films reviewed, I still have some way to go. I'm a bit surprised that my average is just 7.5 as I've rated Rope, Shadow of a Doubt and Psycho extremely highly. His average is let down by the likes of North by Northwest and The Man Who Knew Too Much.

Martin Scorsese 7.4 from seven films. I'd class Scorsese as my favourite film director of all time so to be at just 7.4 is a little misleading. This is because I'm currently reviewing his films in order (the recent Wolf of Wall Street aside). Once the likes of Goodfellas and Raging Bull have been reviewed, his average will shoot right up.

Peter Jackson 7.3 from four films. I think The Lord of the Rings trilogy was brilliant but wasn't so keen on the first Hobbit and although the second was better, I'm yet to review it.

Steven Spielberg 7.2 from ten films. Generally speaking, the more recent the Spielberg film, the lower I'll have rated it. This wasn't the case with Lincoln but Tintin is no Schindler's List.

Ridley Scott 7.0 from five films. Alien is an outstanding movie but I'm not huge Blade Runner fan.

David Cronenberg 6.9 from eight films. I have a love/hate relationship with David Cronenberg. The Fly I love. Crash I hate. A Dangerous Method I love. A History of Violence I, well don't hate but don't love either.

Kim Ji-woon 6.8 from four films. Korea's Kim has made some incredible movies, perhaps none more so than I Saw the Devil. His American début, The Last Stand was a big let down but was at least directed with aplomb.

Charlie Chaplin 6.7 from forty-five films. I've reviewed more Chaplin films than most of the other names on this list combined but I find him languishing with just a 6.7 average. Although I love the guy more than any other man should love a man, some of his early films are poor, even to a huge Chaplin fan. The Kid, The Circus and City Lights are three of my favourite films however.

Sam Raimi 6.5 from six films. I loved Evil Dead when I saw it for the first time last year but I'm no huge fan of the Spider-Man trilogy and didn't enjoy Oz the Great and Powerful.

Steven Soderbergh 6.0 from four films. I thought that Side Effects was a good film but I'm not usually excited by a new Soderbergh movie.

Lars von Trier 5.5 from four films. Von Trier is a fascinating director whose films infuriate me. The 8/10 I gave Antichrist shows how poorly I've marked his other movies.

I've only reviewed three of the following directors movies.

Steve McQueen - 9.0
Michel Hazanavicius - 8.7
John Lasseter - 8.7
Christopher Nolan - 8.7
Sidney Lumet - 8.3
Wim Wenders - 8.3
The Coen Brothers - 8.0
Paul Thomas Anderson - 7.7
Shane Meadows - 7.0
Tim Burton - 6.7
Guillermo del Toro - 6.3
Paul Verhoeven - 6.3
Ivan Reitman - 6.0
James Whale - 6.0
Judd Apatow - 5.7
Tony Scott - 4.7

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Saturday, 18 January 2014

The Railway Man

The memoir of Eric Lomax, a man held as a Prisoner of War and forced to work on the Thai-Burma railway, had the potential to form the basis of an excellent movie. Unfortunately in the hands of director Jonathan Teplitzky it’s a flaccid hodgepodge of sentimentalism and redemption with an overbearing amount of romance crammed in to satisfy its grey haired target audience. The film goes to great lengths to show the impact that those harrowing years had on the central character but in doing so waters down its effects. Over and over again we are shown Lomax as a reserved, quiet man who is screaming on the inside and the more we see it, the less it holds sway. Instead of focus, Teplitzky meanders through the aging Lomax’s mind, boring his audience when he should be shocking them.

The film works using flashback to show tantalising glimpses as to what happened between 1942 and the end of the war and this is when the film is at its strongest. The numerous scenes in later life do little to add to the story before a terrific climax in which Lomax is reunited with the Japanese soldier who tortured him while a prisoner. The elder Lomax is played by Colin Firth who while always watchable, sometimes looks as though on auto pilot. His younger self is an excellent Jeremy Irvine who captures the mannerisms and speech of his older co-star. The remainder of the film is miscast with a doe eyed and wooden Nicole Kidman as Lomax’s long suffering wife and Stellan Skarsgård as his Swedish sounding superior officer. Skarsgård makes no attempt at affecting an English accent despite the strong and pronounced accent of his younger self (Sam Reid). Tanroh Ishida is capable but hardly threatening as the young Japanese torturer who is played by Hiroyuki Sanada in the later scenes.

Friday, 17 January 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street

Martin Scorsese’s latest motion picture comes hurling towards its audience as though thrown from an amusement park ride. Loud, vulgar and covered in vomit, it’s the director’s most controversial movie in years, not to mention his longest and perhaps his most unabashed. The auteur is proving that even into his seventies he still has the power to enthral, entertain and repulse with a wild film about greed and intemperance. The Wolf of Wall Street is based on the memoir of the same name written by Jordan Belfort, a former New York stockbroker who lived a life filled with excess thanks to his shady stock market dealings in the 1980s and 90s.

Joining Scorsese for a fifth time as lead actor is Leonardo DiCaprio who plays Belfort with all the grace, charm and sophistication you expect from a Wall Street swindler. DiCaprio is nasty, vile, cruel and disgusting and yet you can’t help love both him and the character as you watch him snort cocaine from a hooker’s anus or throw hundred dollar bills in the trash. He’s made it, he’s living the American dream and he’s loving every minute of it. Criticism has come from the fact that the central character suffers no real comeuppance, no fall from grace. I disagree slightly with this but would also argue that Scorsese and screenwriter Terrance Winter are showing you how it is. The bad guy doesn’t always lose and in this case, he might not win all the time but it makes no difference. You know he’s a dick and you know he’s in the wrong but you also know that you want what he’s got.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

2014 Oscar Nomination Predictions

With the awards season already in full swing, we're now on the eve of the nominations for the 86th Academy Awards. As with the 2013 Oscars I'm joining in with Film Actually's annual Oscar prediction competition and as with 2013, I'm going to use my Britishness as an excuse for a poor showing. As my fellow countrymen will know, the likes of The Wolf of Wall Street, Her, Inside Llewyn Davis and Dallas Buyers Club haven't been released in the UK yet so it puts us at a slight disadvantage compared to our American chums. Despite this, I'm going to use my expert film knowledge as well as other award ceremonies as a guide and have a stab at predicting the nominations and winners in 21 of the categories. The list of my predictions is below and my predicted winner is in red.

According to my predictions, 12 Years a Slave will be the winner nominations wise with an impressive (14). Gravity will get (11) with American Hustle on (10), Captain Philips not far behind with (8) and The Wolf of Wall Street and Rush on (5) nominations apiece. 

For the Oscar winners, I'm predicting that Gravity will win a total of (6) awards with 12 Years a Slave taking (5) home and American Hustle (2).

For those who want to keep an eye on awards buzz all year round, head over to Film Actually for up to date and insightful awards news, predictions, rumours and lists.

12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street
American Hustle
Captain Philips

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

2014 BAFTA Awards Thoughts and Predictions

Early this morning, this year's BAFTA nominees were announced. Now widely considered as one of the major award ceremonies (along with The Golden Globes) in the run up to the Oscars, the BAFTA awards have long been a well respected and coveted prize on both sides of the Atlantic. Below is a full list of the 2014 BAFTA Award nominees, the winners of which will be announced at the 67th BAFTA Award ceremony on February 16th at the Royal Opera House. Alongside the list of nominees you'll find my prediction and personal choice of which film or person I'd like to see win.

BAFTA gave us no real surprises with its announcement this morning with the most nominations going to Gravity (11), 12 Years a Slave (10) and American Hustle (10). Saving Mr. Banks performed strongly with (9) nominations, continuing its showing as a dark horse during this year's awards season. Behind the Candelabra received (5) nominations, this despite it not being released theatrically in the States. It's Mandela (1) nomination that will perhaps be dubbed this year's snub but there are no nominations for Spike Jonze's Her and Dallas Buyer's Club, the latter especially I expect to perform better in America. 

12 Years a Slave

Considering the ferocity of Steve McQueen’s small but impressive oeuvre and the subject matter of his latest film, I never expected to be in for an easy ride with 12 Years a Slave but nothing, not the trailer, the word of mouth nor my own imagination could prepare me for both its excellence and the horrors to be found within it. The director’s third feature is based on the memoir of one Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from up-state New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841. The film charts the following decade and the unimaginable ordeal that is daily life for a slave.

It’s rare these days that I can report to have sat through a film screening in a packed cinema without seeing at least one or two phones light up in front of me. Talking and popcorn rustling are two other offenders which take one out of a film and back to the annoying reality of the fact that there are other humans around you. Throughout the two and a quarter hours of 12 Years a Slave however I didn’t hear a peep from the audience besides a few sniffles and yelps. The film gripped one and all from its opening frames and touched myself at least (but I suspect most) with a profound sense of heartache, perplexity and dare I say it, guilt.

Following a brief few scenes which outline Solomon’s life as an accomplished and well respected musician, living in middle class surroundings, side by side with blacks and whites, the film takes the turn you know to expect. Cinematographer Sean Bobbitt presses his camera uncomfortably close to the actors during these scenes in a trend that continues during Solomon’s kidnapping. The screen becomes claustrophobic and seems to envelop the audience as though we too are being taken against our will. I struggled for breath and my palms were clammy, as they remained so long passed the credits began to roll. The camera is unflinching, not allowing the audience to avert their gaze from both the kidnapping and the horrors that are to follow.