Showing posts with label Andrea Riseborough. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Andrea Riseborough. Show all posts

Tuesday, 16 April 2013


I’m a big fan of clever, great looking science fiction but wasn’t really excited by the prospect of the latest Tom Cruise vehicle, Oblivion. The trailer seemed to suggest the great looks but gave little indication of the ideas to back up the visuals. I was wrong. Oblivion is a film which I enjoyed much more than I anticipated and as an overall package is a pretty decent film. It’s 2077 and the Earth has been partially destroyed by a war between humans and an alien force known as Scavengers. Although we won the war, we couldn’t save the planet as the use of atomic weapons left it mostly uninhabitable. With most of humanity relocated to Titan and the rest aboard an orbiting space station awaiting their departure, the last two people on Earth live above the clouds and form a skeleton crew in charge of maintaining drones which protect vital sea based energy converters from the few remaining Scavs.

Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is drone mechanic 49 who spends his days servicing downed drones while dodging the occasional Scav attack. His partner is Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) who monitors Jack from the clouds and she reports back to Control (Melissa Leo) aboard the orbiting space station. Jack finds himself suffering unusual flashbacks to a time before his birth and when a craft crashes into his sector he discovers that its only survivor is the woman from his flashback dreams. As Jack uncovers new and disturbing evidence after an encounter with the Scavs, it appears that all is not what it seems on Earth. Oblivion isn’t a fantastic film but when science fiction blockbusters these days are either comic book based or just loud, shouty, exploding Michael Bay style affairs, Oblivion harks back to the 1970s period of sci-fi about ideas which are set in a fleshed out and realistic world. Oblivion not only looks brilliant but has an engaging plot which is full of surprises.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013


W.E. or Wallace and Edward or Woefully Excruciating, What Ever, Without Evidence, Worse than Empty, Withering Exacerbation or Wasteful and Erroneous is a film by Madonna that desperately seeks parallels between a modern day love story and that of Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII. It’s rubbish, like really rubbish.

In 1998 a lonely wife called Wally (seriously, Wally) (Abbie Cornish) is obsessing over the life of Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough) the woman behind the sensation of the century who met, fell in love with and married King Edward VIII of England. Simpson was not only a colonial commoner but was also twice divorced and it was inconceivable that a woman of her standing could marry a Royal let alone the man that would become King. This film tracks Wallis and Edwards’s love affair and the controversy it created while drawing comparisons to a modern day tale of love, suffering and redemption. And did I mention it’s rubbish?

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Brighton Rock

2010’s Brighton Rock is a massive disappointment. Despite nice period detail and a great cast it is unbelievably boring.

Sam Riley plays Pinky, a member of a Brighton gang who after killing a rival gang member, befriends Angela Riseborough’s Rose in order to keep an eye on her as she has witnessed the gangs behaviour before the murder. She falls head over heels in love with Pinky and the film charts their relationship and Pinky’s subsequent role within the gang.

1960s Brighton looks wonderful here and the clothes, hair and makeup all look genuine. It is a very nice film to look at. Angela Riseborough is the pick of the cast, outshining the likes of Helen Mirren and John Hurt. She is wonderful as a shy and impressionable young waitress who falls for the sociopathic Pinky. Riley’s Pinky is deeply unlikeable and without any redeeming features. He is played well by Riley. Andy Serkis plays rival gang leader Colleoni and is also wonderful. The acting as a whole is marvellous but the film is just so boring. I couldn’t engage with the film and didn’t care what happened to any of the characters.

The transportation of the film to the 1960s to coincide with the Mods and Rockers clashes seemed pointless. There was no reason for it to have been set in that time and would have worked just as well if it had been set in the 1940s like the original. The film didn’t make any use of its time change. Sam Riley is also too old to have played the character in my view. Riseborough looks and acts like a girl in her late teens or early twenties but Riley looks about thirty. He is too old to be an up and coming gangster.


Thursday, 26 January 2012

Made in Dagenham

I’d wanted to go and see this film when it was on at the cinema but was unable to persuade my girlfriend to join me. I found this disappointing as at its core, this is a film about feminism. The story of female workers at a Ford Motors plant in Dagenham, Essex is based on real events from 1968 when a dispute with management with regards to a change of being classed as unskilled from semi-skilled labour provoked a series of events that ended up with the women demanding equal pay. This in turn helped lead to the Equal Pay Act 1970.

The film follows a young Dagenham employee played wonderfully by Sally Hawkins who becomes the unofficial spokesperson for her fellow employees. Hawkins as so often is the case comes across to the audience as a quiet, likable girl next door in the first act but as the film progresses unleashes a tirade of seemingly off the cuff speeches to various people and organisations about the women’s plight and eventually gains the attention of Secretary of State for employment Barbara Castle, played here by Miranda Richardson.

I felt that the film was a well told portrayal of life for a working class family in the late 1960s and the fight for civil rights. It is clear that the women’s fight is not an easy one and that the men behind them while mostly supportive, wavered from time to time.

I remember on the films release hearing an interview with producer Stephen Woolley who was outraged at the films 15 Certificate due to the use of the word ‘fuck’. Having now watched the film I can understand totally why he felt aggrieved and despite I think two or maybe three uses of the word would definitely encourage any young person to watch it. If I ever have children it will certainly be amongst the pile of films I will be showing them.

I think it is important the films like Made in Dagenham are seen by a large young audience at a time where female role models include The Only Way is Essex ‘stars’ and Jordan/Katie Price. I’d rather young girls were influenced by and inspired by the Essex girls of Made in Dagenham than by the Essex girls they see on TV in 2012.   

Barbara Castle meets with the strikers. But only the pretty ones...

If I was to have one criticism of the film it would be that in the important negotiation scene with Miranda Richardson, only the good looking girls were involved, once outside, the 'larger' ladies appeared from nowhere and joined in with the celebrations. I thought for a film with a strong feminist tone it was strange that of the 180-something strikers, only the good looking ones were involved in such a pivotal scene.