festival programmer and occasional writer
iranian cinema enthusiast by birth
film noir enthusiast by choice
It's no mean feat to invent a whole new cinematic language through which bourgeois ennui and emotional detachment and existential crises can be studied by purely visual means, or to convey human emotions and psyches through landscape and architecture and, very often, without words altogether. This is a film in which the sight of a decaying monument or the sound of church bells or the smallest gesture of a hand can signify a world of meaning. I used to think…
Without a hint of exaggeration, this is one of the best films I've ever seen. An edge-of-your-seat rollercoaster ride, fuelled by John Garfield's towering work and shot through James Wong Howe's inventive, arresting lens.
The titular villain is a jittery, temperamental sociopath whom Garfield plays with such grace and layered complexity, he feels almost sympathetic despite his increasing mania. Shelley Winters goes toe to toe with him in every scene, and channels the audience's conflicted reaction to him beautifully, fear…
Very few films have made me feel so hot and cold during a screening, sometimes even within the space of a few seconds in a single scene. How can a filmmaker capable of something as tender and genuine as that dinner scene with Remi's parents leave the rest of his film riddled with so many clichés and formulaic dramatic beats?
The mid-film twist feels like a needlessly mean-spirited device to emotionally manipulate the audience, and its scale is unmerited by…
The modern Hollywood tendency to extend and expand and over-explain pre-existing material really buries this one. I've never really been a big fan of Del Toro, whose films feel soulless despite their extravagance, but his visual indulgences do actually make the first half of this film a bit livelier than Goulding’s version. And yet...that original film is by no means flawless and suffers from the director’s dull approach, but its problem certainly isn’t that it's too short, or that it…