Showing posts with label Ray Winstone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ray Winstone. Show all posts

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Nil by Mouth

Nil by Mouth is acclaimed actor Gary Oldman’s debut as writer/director and is set in deepest, darkest, scariest South London. The film follows a single family and various friends as they struggle with drugs, alcohol, poverty and violence. Never an easy watch, Nil by Mouth features a grounded and gritty script and some accomplished directing and won numerous awards on its release in 1997.

Raymond (Ray Winstone) is a wheeler-dealer type who gets by with various scams and small time crimes. His wife Valerie (Kathy Burke) is pregnant with their second child and her brother Billy (Charlie Creed-Miles) scrounges off the pair and his mother Janet (Laila Morse) to feed his heroin habit. During the two hour, ten minute run time the various family members are attacked, beaten and arrested in what is a thoroughly depressing tale of abuse; both the abuse of substances and of each other.

About three minutes into Nil by Mouth my girlfriend, who was only half watching, turned to me and said “This is a naughty film, isn’t it?” That is putting it incredibly mildly. According to IMDb the film holds the record for the most uses of the word “cunt” which is uttered 82 times in total, mostly by Ray Winstone. The language itself is terrifying but is nothing compared with the violence. In the film’s most shocking scene a pregnant woman is beaten senseless by her husband. It makes for excruciating viewing and isn’t easy to watch. The film brings to the screen a side of London which is never seen by tourists or indeed the vast majority of its eight million residents but it remains recognisable due to its recognisable setting and naturalistic acting.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Sexy Beast

Gary Dove (Ray Winstone) is an ex safe cracker now living in retirement in Spain. He and his best friend Aitch (Cavan Kendall) live idyllic lives in the Spanish sun but their relaxed lives are interrupted by the arrival of terrifying London gangster Don Logan (Ben Kingsley) who tries to forcefully persuade Gary to do another job back in the UK. Despite his protestations Don won’t take no for an answer and an uneasy standoff develops between the two men.

I’ve never been a fan of the Guy Ritchie style London based gangster films and get annoyed that British films are generally divided into costume drama or East End Gangster flicks. Sexy Beast feels very different from the Gut Ritchie style of film and reminded me more of a Nicholas Winding Refn film. The colour saturation, violence and electro, bass heavy soundtrack are all signatures of his work and had I been told this was one of his films I wouldn’t have doubted it. The film is actually the debut feature of Director Jonathan Glazer who is better known as a Director of adverts and music videos. He brings his easy on the eye style to the big screen and here creates a memorable film which also has one of the best Ben Kingsley performances I’ve seen.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

The Proposition

"Ah Australia. What fresh hell is this?"

After a gang commits a horrific crime in 1880s Australia, local Police Captain (Ray Winstone) offers to spare the lives of two Burns’ brothers if one of them, Charlie (Guy Pearce) kills their older brother Arthur (Danny Huston) who was responsible for the crime. As the youngest brother (Richard Wilson) rots in jail with his execution looming, Charlie has just nine days to track down Arthur and bring his body to the Captain.

The film’s opening titles show original photos mixed with stills from the set which are made to look aged. This is a nice little touch which helps to create the period setting. The look and feel of late Victorian Australia is captured wonderfully with a mixture of fantastic sets, costumes and locations. There is a fabulous juxtaposition between the Captain’s little bubble and the rest of the film’s locations. He often remarks that “I will tame this land” and his house, garden and wife look as though they have been neatly dropped from a London suburb. Outside of this however the land is sweaty, dusty and grim. People are unwashed and clothes are stained brown and torn.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman

Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is the daughter of King Magnus (Noah Huntley) and is known as a great beauty. Her mother, the Queen dies when she is young and her father remarries a freed prisoner called Ravenna (Charlize Theron). On their wedding night Ravenna kills the King and takes the Kingdom for herself. Snow White is locked up in an isolated tower for several years as the Kingdom is left to rot under Ravenna’s cruel rule. When she comes of age it is revealed to Ravenna that she is no longer the fairest of them all and that Snow White’s beauty has usurped hers. Ravenna tries to eat Snow White’s heart in order to stay forever young but Snow White escapes. Ravenna sends a drunken widower Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to bring Snow White back but things don’t pan out the way Ravenna hopes.

The film appears to be influenced by many different stories and ideas with the most notable being Snow White (obviously), but there is also a lot of Joan of Ark in there as well as a little Twilight, Game of Thrones, Royal Wedding and the visual styling of an acid trip. The castle appears to be modelled on Mont St.Michael in Normandy. The film’s design and effects are amongst its most successful features. Debut director Rupert Sanders has created a sumptuous world of dark forests, great castles, dancing fairies, giant trolls and medieval towns. The film looks stunning.