Film Reviews by VC

Welcome to VC's film reviews page. VC has written 13 reviews and rated 64 films.

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Winter Sleep

What a brilliant film!

(Edit) 20/07/2018

So, this isn't a film for people with short attention spans! You really have to listen (ie watch the subtitles!) all the time or you miss important points. Unusually, this film has important points all the way through - all three hours of it.

The dialogue is like nothing you would normally hear in British conversations, nowadays, and unfortunately. It is extremely natural, and in fact the acting is incredibly natural. So many facets of the human heart are expressed continually, and yet nothing is forced. I have never watched a Turkish film before, and I was surprised at its depth, which reminded me of Russian writers like Solzhenitsyn and Dostoyevsky.

The filming was stunning - lovely to watch. There were odd moments where images were shown briefly, and I think they must have been symbolic, but they were easy to miss. For example, the dead deer and the crows perched up in the trees. None of those symbolic images were laboured in any way, and they seemed to be expressing brief subliminal thoughts of the characters, rather than some grand artistic point the Director was making.

I also found myself looking at the interiors of the houses, trying to figure out why there were three gigantic garlic cloves (?) in an alcove, or what the strange masks on the walls were! Yes, the film was long, and I also had to do it in several sessions, but some things are worth a bit of effort. Despite the length and the densely packed dialogue, my attention was held all the way through.

I don't know how the Director got the actors to behave so naturally. It must have taken ages to get them all to really "be" their characters.

Totally absorbing and highly recommended, especially for those of us who are starved of real human intercourse in our trivial society.

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Leviathan

Wow - a meaningful film for once!

(Edit) 09/12/2017

I am no techi so this is just my feelings about this film.

I will say it is quite depressing, so don't expect a happy ending. However, watching this film made me realise how utterly starved I am of films with depth and meaning, and true genuine ART.

The photography is absolutely stunning, with incredible shots and lighting, but full of subtle symbolism as well. But it's not just surface aesthetics - it all means something and is part of a uniquely crafted whole. It is quite unusual to see the way the characters are filmed as part of the background and surroundings, as though the "whole picture" is important.

The "story" seems to be the lens through which to see into the huge dark picture of life and what goes on in it. And in fact, it reminds me of the Book of Revelation and the prediction of the coming of the antichrist and his sidekick the false prophet, as the culmination of the present evil world-order.

Please do also watch the interview with the director - who is obviously that rare thing nowadays - a true artist.

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Hinterland: Series 2

Cannot believe how good this is

(Edit) 03/06/2016

This is one of the few TV Series where the second series is even better than the first. It has been called Celtic Noir with good reason and is often compared with The Killing. I enjoyed the latter but this surpassed it by far, and should now be able to stand on its own, without Mari's coat trying to vie with Lundt's jumper (which is frankly ridiculous). I found Series 2 to be far more Welsh in character: deep intense emotionality and brooding volcanic dark. The acting is superb and the stories are good. It's strange just how most of the lead characters are broken people: but isn't everyone? I found DS Sian Owens the weakest part, but she is up against the others' immensely strong characterisations so perhaps never stood a chance. Prosser is perhaps the most original and mystifying character I've seen looming up from the shadows onto our film or TV screens. I can't make up my mind if he's good or evil. There is a certain amount of minimalism in the acting: Mari's silences and her painful inability to relate to her daughter with ease. (How like life!) The photography is also superb, although I admittedly sometimes got tired of viewing most of it through a gap between door posts.

This is a must see for anyone who likes good acting, good TV and good stories.

1 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Awful film

(Edit) 01/08/2015

I can't believe this film got awards and brilliant professional reviews! I wonder if the director had been an unknown rather than Ken Loach if the reviews would have been so positive? The film was entirely fictional so if you want to understand the Irish rebellions etc it will be no use at all. I couldn't understand the dialogue as it was mumbled throughout. There were lots of things I couldn't understand because I know nothing of the history really, and for example, references to what I thought were "forecourts" in fact meant "Four Courts" and there were many other instances! The film seems to think you already know everything. I didn't think the acting was very good either. It didn't grip me at all and I couldn't wait for him to get executed!

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The Hour of the Lynx

Unusual film

(Edit) 22/01/2015

Hard to categorize this film but it is definitely not a crime thriller and there is no suspense involved! It is a very interesting psychological drama. I would call it a compassionate look at broken humanity. Don't watch it if you need cheering up though!

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A Hijacking

Loved it

(Edit) 02/12/2014

Nice to see the old Danish crew back again!

Søren Malling really makes this film. His quiet, understated and rather reserved acting, as always, conveys emotion with so much more power than somebody trying to make a Shakespearian impression. He really makes you feel what is going on inside the man, behind the mask. This is not an action thriller, and you won't be on the edge of your seat biting your nails, but it had my attention throughout. I think the director almost wants to show you "a day in the life of your usual Somali pirate hostages" except it's a few months. The approach is quite different to what you would expect, when treating a subject like this. In some ways it's like a series of candid camera shots of scenes on the boat and back in the shipping office. It shows us people as they are in the situation without judging. You can't help feeling annoyed with the Expert Negotiator or wondering if the Somalis ever spare a thought for the families back home, but in the end they are all just people.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Hannah Arendt

Interesting Subject

(Edit) 25/11/2014

I had to give this film 5 stars, although it probably doesn’t deserve it! I was riveted, trying to take in Hannah’s depth of thought, and for me that made it special and very rare in these days of shallow cinematic wonders.

I had problems trying to catch some of the more interesting or profound statements as they went past me too fast, and I had to rewind to catch them. I also found the jumping from one language to another, and from subtitles to no subtitles, unnecessary and disturbing to my concentration.

It must be said that the film is more like a trailer, tantalising you and inviting you to explore further, (and I did go onto Amazon to search for her books afterwards!) rather than a thorough exploration of Hannah’s character and thought. So many things should have been explored and not glossed over, like her love affair with her tutor Martin Heidegger for example. Did the film maker take on a subject that was beyond him I wonder? I find it curious that the film is called “Hannah Arendt” but in no way is this a biopic. It concentrates on her reporting of the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem, but you don’t really get an in depth look at the trial, her thoughts about it, or her clash with the Jewish community when she published “Eichmann in Jerusalem”. You don’t get to understand what made her tick, or how she became the great thinker that she was. You are left with a vague impression of someone who was a deep and fearless thinker, someone who most people misunderstood, and someone who had sorrows buried somewhere beyond our ken. Yet, the film held my attention the whole time, and as I said, made me want to explore her life and thought further.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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Hawaii Five-0: Series 3

Why does it have to be so violent?

(Edit) 17/11/2014

I enjoyed series one and two, but decided to discontinue watching this because it's just a load of gratuitous violence and torture. Enough of that sort of thing on the news!

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Harakiri

BEYOND WORDS REALLY

(Edit) 23/02/2013

It never fails to amaze me how deeply and passionately emotional orientals are, despite their normal reputation of being inscrutable! This is an incredibly gut-wrenching performance (in more ways than one!) with brilliant acting. It is very slow and drawn out, like a Japanese tea ceremony, but it has to be. The portrayal of what it's like to be poor, with the helplessness involved, and how people compromise when desperation overtakes them, and woe to anyone who dares condemn them, who hasn't been there, is marvelous and so true to life. Not just Japanese life in the 17th century either: all human life in all ages. Indeed, the universality of the multiple and profoundly deep messages in the film is what makes it truly great. The final speech of Hanshiro Tsugumo, where he questions his audience saying: why did not one of them think to question the reasons for his predecessor's actions etc - that speech is the cry of the human heart through the ages. My soul feels it can breath in the profound atmosphere of this film, and realises how shallow and stultifying so much of modern cinema is. I should also mention the visual impact of this beautiful black and white film - there are many pictures you wish you could cut out and put them in a frame on your wall. Everybody should watch it, feel it and meditate on it!

5 out of 5 members found this review helpful.

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Masked and Anonymous

Deserves to have been taken more seriously

(Edit) 09/12/2012

I've given this film 5 stars - maybe it doesn't deserve that many but it certainly deserves more credit than it's ever got. I don't know how much Dylan had to do with the appearance of the film, but I was very struck how the visual detail - a kaleidescope of gypsy colours and shots of every facet of humanity - made me think of the lyrics to Desolation Row. The whole thing in fact is like a Dylan song. You aren't quite sure what it all means, red herrings thrown in here and there, half hidden bits of humour, possibley deeper observations on life, but you aren't quite sure. Yes it's a bit of a mess - like Dylan himself. I enjoyed watching it because it's not like other films, because it's visually facinating with it's detail and colour and humanity, and it made me think a bit more than most films do

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Las Acacias

WONDERFUL WONDERFUL FILM

(Edit) 22/09/2012

Beautifully and so realistically filmed. But the human feeling in this film has to be encountered to be believed. If you don't like subtitles you don't need to worry - there is almost no dialogue! The acting is marvelous but so subtle - hardly there - but the feelings come across. This is one of my top ten favourite films now - the kind of film which is a joy to the heart. I can't wait for the directors next film to come out

3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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Samurai Rebellion

Marvelous film

(Edit) 19/08/2012

Thought I was going to be really bored at first. It was so slow. But after a while the theme, the acting and the filming caught me up. It's inspiring - living in the UK where there is so much apathy about life, and oppression, it's wonderful to watch a film about people who have lived a long time under the thumb of injustice, and towed the line, then finding the ability to say no! There is more to life than keeping the status quo and keeping oneself alive. Wonderful acting and filming towards the end, and I couldn't help thinking it influenced the director of "The House of Flying Daggers" - I found the drama and the atmosphere similar. The quality is pretty bad but don't be put off by that

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Pina

STUNNING

(Edit) 15/10/2011

I knew nothing about Pina Bausch, unfortunately, seeing she is now dead. I wish there had been full length versions of the pieces. The images are amazing, and the emotional expression and movement are overwhelming. She had real depth.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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