Archive for November, 2014

Image – *(*)

Posted: November 29, 2014 in 2014, Belgium, Drama, Flanders, Social Drama, X1/2

Image has a lot of ingredients that make it a promising feature. It’s made by two Belgians of Moroccan descent and deals with the negative image building of their community in the media. It’s set in Brussels and is realistically quadrilingual.

A young female reporter working for a Flemish tv channel is making an item about the troublesome areas in Brussels where police often clash with the north african inhabitants. She gains the trust of a notorious gangster who guides her around, but is rushed by the tv channel to finish her documentary. Her mentor is a tv presenter losing viewers week after week and in search of a big scoop. A positively alternative piece on a community often scorned and neglected isn’t exactly what he wants.

Too bad the end result is disappointing. It’s unclear what the makers want to achieve with this movie. It definitely doesn’t give a more positively alternative image of the community and it doesn’t tell anything we don’t already know. It’s not thrilling and it’s not dramatic. The main character isn’t really well-developed even though she’s almost in every single shot of the movie. All we know is that she’s a semi-idealistic, somewhat naive, lost individual from rich parents who also is – from what we get to see – a terrible documentary maker. There’s nothing appealing about her. Maybe it’s the performance from the actress. Maybe it’s the directing or scripting of her character. Her presence just isn’t believable.

Nabil Mallat however, is a revelation. It’s the kind of actor that you wish to see in any kind of role, regardless of his background. Here he just does the stereotypical thing, being part tough guy, part gentle person. But he does it with little effort as if he just could have been the character. Next time this guy needs to play a role written for a typical caucasian actor.

Not all is bad. Brussels looks fascinating. The complex identity of the city is well depicted. Most of the supporting cast do an excellent job. The editing is efficient. But the story is bad. It’s predictable and pointless, everything it aspires not to be.

A missed opportunity. Makes you want to watch Au-dela De Gibraltar again, the best Belgo-Moroccan movie so far.

Based on a famous Surinamese book, Hoe Duur Was De Suiker (literally: How Expensive Was The Sugar) is set in the Dutch colonial sugar plantations at the end of the 18th century. Life was boring for the rich owners and hard for their slaves. But nobody suffered more than Sarith, a young woman so beautiful and lustful that many men wanted to bed her, but ignored her when looking for a wife.

It’s sad to write that all the focus in this movie (a shortened version of a tv series) lies on this one egocentric, arrogant, mean, soulless, but dramatically very convincing manipulating bitch. She’s not quite Vivien Leigh, but Gaite Jansen does an excellent job as the main character of this Gone With The Wind-like historical drama.

Ironically enough, the producers decided to tell the story from the viewpoint of her personal slave, in order to make it look more like a historical account rather than a romantic soap drama. The setting is great, a lot of time and money was spent on the costume design and some scenes are brutal both mentally and physically. The price of sugar was paid at the cost of inhumanity, deprivation and death.

But in the end it’s really all about a manipulating screwed up psycho slut. So, don’t expect a Dutch version of 12 Years A Slave.

Pride – ***

Posted: November 13, 2014 in 2014, Drama, Dramedy, LGBT themed, Political, Social Drama, UK, XXX

Based on a true story, Pride takes place in 1984 when mine workers all over the UK went on strike against Margaret Tatcher’s plans to close them down. A young group of gay activists in London decide to raise money for a random mining village in Wales. The village committee accepts the support and invites them over, but not everyone is as happy with the help from the perverts. It’s time for some solidarity between the miners and the gays, who seem to have nothing in common apart from being bullied by the police.

Only in the UK can dramatic comedies like these be made so efficiently. There’s the right amount of humor, the right amount of drama and an excellent soundtrack. The casting was done extremely well and the script – though predictable and short of surprises – entertains from start to finish. There’s more focus on the LGBT-issues (gay bashing, family acceptance, aids) than on the miner’s strike, which makes this really a LGBT movie. But one for the masses. And a promising career start for some talented actors like Ben Schnetzer, George MacKay and tv actresses Faye Marsay and Jessica Cunning.

Gone Girl – ***

Posted: November 1, 2014 in 2014, Crime/Detective, Drama, Dramedy, Revenge, USA, XXX

What an entertaining whodunnit dramedy! A great joy to watch!

Sure there are plotholes and Ben Affleck is not really acting but saying lines and looking Ben Afflecky, but who cares. There’s the mesmerizing Rosamund Pike and there’s an roller coaster story that keeps you hooked for more than two hours.

Don’t read any of the reviews or long synopsis, just go see it and be surprised. It’s worth the risk of being disappointed.