Showing posts with label Daniel Bruhl. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Daniel Bruhl. Show all posts

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Inglourious Basterds

Set in Nazi occupied France, Inglourious Basterds is a film that took Quentin Tarantino over a decade to write and produce. Multiple plot threads, an ever expanding script and difficulty with the movie’s conclusion meant that from first to final draft, a decade had elapsed. The completed script is one of pure Tarantino penmanship. Featuring ideas of revenge, duplicity and malice while scattered with pop references, albeit from a different era, Inglouious Basterds is as Tarantino as a Mexican stand-off in a Big Kahuna Burger Restaurant. Nominated for eight Academy Awards and taking over $320 million worldwide, it is also one of the director’s most successful to date.

Split into five chapters, the film focuses on the efforts of two sets of people to bring down the Third Reich. Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent) is a young Jewish woman who, early in the film, escapes death at the hands of the gifted ‘Jew Hunter’ Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). Having dodged an early grave, Shosanna relocates to Paris where she runs a small cinema which we shall come back to later. Meanwhile, elsewhere in France, the Basterds, a group of American Jewish soldiers, led by Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) are scouring the countryside in search of Nazis to bludgeon and scalp. When the Basterds hear that the entire Nazi high command will be in Paris for the Premier of Goebbels latest propaganda film, they set in motion a plan to end the war the very same night.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013


Rush, the latest offering from director Ron Howard, is an exhilarating and dramatic biographical action movie set in the glamorous world of the 1970s Formula One driver. Being a fairly faithful retelling of true events, the movie focuses on the careers of and rivalry between Austria’s Nikki Laura (Daniel Bruhl) and Britain’s James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) in the mid 1970s during which the pair were the cream of the motor racing world. Though the movie begins in 1970, the main thrux of the plot is the 1976 F1 season during which the pair’s rivalry and willingness to put themselves in the path of danger reached an all time high before the season reached a dramatic climax in Japan.     

I need to mention very early on that personally I’m a huge fan of Formula One and have only missed around three races since my first in 1994. I love the history, the strategy and the technology of the sport and would rank it amongst my biggest passions. Because of this I was worried that my judgement of the film would be clouded but I’m confident that the film is good enough that my love of its backdrop hasn’t affected my enjoyment. In many ways the movie reminded me of the sublime BAFTA award winning documentary Senna in that although both movies are about F1 and F1 drivers, they could be about anything. It’s the story and characters who make both films great. They could be set within any discipline.

Monday, 15 July 2013

The Edukators

The Edukators is a sociological thriller about three young anti-capitalists who get in way over their heads after a botched break-in. Peter (Stipe Erceg) and Jan (Daniel Brühl) are a pair of idealistic young wannabe revolutionaries, living in near squalor in the centre of Berlin. In the evenings they scope out large houses in the suburbs which they break into. Rather than stealing what they find inside, the pair instead moves the furniture and expensive consumer items around, messing with the minds of the rich inhabitants and leaving a note saying something along the lines of “Your days of plenty are coming to an end”. They call themselves ‘The Edukators’. With Peter in Barcelona, Jan becomes friendlier with Peter’s girlfriend Jule (Julia Jentsch) after the pair had previously been rather standoffish with each other. Jule explains how her life is being ruined by a debt owed to a rich man following a car crash and Jan decides to do something about it, bringing Jule into ‘The Edukators’ without Peter’s knowledge.

The Edukators is a fascinating thriller which bought out the old Commie in me. I was on the group’s side, finding myself nodding along to their rants about consumerism and third world debt while I sat on my leather sofa, watching my flat screen TV. The film bought out something in me which I’ve lost in recent years, my youthful anger at the world. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still angry but these days my anger is focussed at religion and stupidity rather than poverty and injustice. This movie bought that back.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Two Days in Paris

Early this year I saw a great little Franco-American comedy called Two Days in New York. That film, a sequel to this, worked well as a stand alone film but we enjoyed it so much that my girlfriend sought out the first movie as well. Julie Delpy writes, directs, edits, composes and stars in what is essentially a study of love. French born but New York residing photographer Marion (Delpy) is on her way back to the States following an unromantic trip to Venice with her neurotic, Woody Allen with tattoos and a beard-esque boyfriend Jack (Adam Goldberg) when they stop off in Paris for a couple of days to pick up a cat and drop in on Marion’s parents. The previously disaster filled Venice trip fades into obscurity when put up against the events of the two days as former lover after former lover reappears in Marion’s home city and Jack becomes ever more jealous and agitated.

I’m a big fan of talkie comedy-dramas featuring socially liberal, middle class people. I love Woody Allen, Wes Anderson and Guillaume Canet, all three, directors who can create snappy, funny, insightful films about relationships in often claustrophobic settings. Delpy has the same talent and despite the spacious city streets of the French capital, the film feels hemmed in and claustrophobic which adds to the sense of sweaty tension. The dialogue is politically smart and socially astute and is snappy in both English and French. It’s incredibly droll and witty and manages to play on stereotypes without succumbing to them. There is also a great understanding of the ebb and flow of a relationship and the hang ups which both sides naturally have.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Good Bye, Lenin!

I first attempted to watch this film eight years ago when it was shown to us on my first day of University. Unfortunately that day there was a problem with the projector and the film cut out half way through. Here I am, eight years later having finally finished it with a review.

I think that the idea behind the film is brilliant. It is 1989 in East Berlin and a hard line Communist mother watches as her son is arrested for taking part in a reunification rally. Upon seeing his arrest, the mother has a heart attack and falls into a coma. Eight months pass by during which the Berlin Wall falls and capitalism sweeps through East Berlin, which is now reunified with the west. When the mother eventually wakes up she is in a very fragile state and her son is told that any excitement or surprises could kill her. He then has to try to maintain the lie that East Berlin is still under control from Moscow in an attempt to keep his mother alive.

The film is quite funny in places and interesting throughout. I felt that about fifteen minutes could have been cut from the middle third as it sags slightly there but then it builds up to a tremendous final half hour. Some of the lengths the son goes to, to maintain the lie are extraordinary but two in particular stand out. He uses his budding film director friend to make up eight months of news and also borrows an ex-Cosmonaught turned taxi driver for an emotional and loving scene.

The acting is very naturalistic. The whole cast seem very at ease and almost unaware that the camera is on them. East Berlin (one of my favourite places) looks great. We don’t see much of it but what we do see are the brutal Communist buildings that give it its signature look.

Part of what remains of the wall today. Taken by me in 2010

Overall, Good Bye, Lenin! Is an interesting film with some funny moments and a lot of heart. There is enough politics in there for people who are interested in the reunification but not too much so that it would overpower it for those who are not.

Aditional - For a review of the Oscar winning The Lives of Others, which has shares a time and place with this film, click here.