Padraic C

Padraic C

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My 'Favourite Films' are the last four titles which I rated five stars.

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  • The Battle of Algiers

    The Battle of Algiers

    ★★★★★

    Steven Spielberg had to have been an admirer of The Battle of Algiers; his own Schindler's List would strongly recall its scenes of ghettoised Arabs rounded up at gunpoint by their less-than-benevolent French captors. Filmed on location, it has a sense of realism Hollywood could only have dreamt of achieving at the time, not to mention a steadfast refusal either to condemn or condone the actions of the FLN or the paratroopers sent in to destroy them. Hardly a glamorous look at guerrilla warfare.

  • Taxi Driver

    Taxi Driver

    ★★★★★

    A masterwork of seventies cinema. Paul Schrader's decision to set the story of uneducated, alcoholic loner Travis Bickle against the backdrop of a US presidential election is inspired. Candidate Palantine promises reform after “we, the people, suffered in Vietnam”, though Bickle, a discharged Marine, is the embodiment of that suffering, and the post-civil rights movement which left racial tension in urban areas unaddressed. It was clear from this moment on that politics would not save America.

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  • Dead Poets Society

    Dead Poets Society

    A film that would be inconceivable today, in which we are asked to sympathise with a group of privileged students in an all-white, all-male boarding school in 1950s New England. Park your cynicism, however, and Dead Poets Society remains a superior Hollywood drama. Just how much you buy into Robin Williams' “unorthodox” teaching style – as the English professor tasked with nurturing in his pupils a love of poetry and literature – may vary, but come the finale, it is difficult not to be moved.

  • Ms .45

    Ms .45

    Grimy exploitation thriller, in which a mute seamstress (Zoë Tamerlis) is sexually assaulted twice in one day, and goes on a killing spree, mowing down an assortment of sleazy men. Fantastic use of on-location filming in the garbage-strewn streets of New York – this is the kind of film Joker wanted to be – with cinematic allusions to the likes of Rosemary's Baby (Tamerlis's intrusive, elderly neighbour staring through the peephole) and The Conversation (the gore rising out of the shower drain).

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  • Son of Saul

    Son of Saul

    ★★★★★

    Shot in tight close-ups using shallow focus, with traditional widescreen aspect ratio sliced down to a much more compact 4:3, Son of Saul is unsparing of the horrors of Auschwitz without indulging in salacious detail. Glimpses of the recently murdered are always at the corners of frames, the minutiae of concentration camp life – the disposal of ashes, the scrubbing of floors – rendered unremarkable. Among the few Holocaust films to deal not only with the ordeal of the Jews, but with their faith.

  • O.J.: Made in America

    O.J.: Made in America

    ★★★★★

    Had O.J.: Made in America been a two-hour documentary, it might well have stood as one of the best films of 2016. At almost four times that length, director Ezra Edelman has created an exhaustive – and exhausting – work that is, frankly, indispensable. Edelman delves into Simpson's unprecedented story – a black athlete distancing himself from the rhetoric of solidarity espoused by the likes of Muhammad Ali, only to exploit the very real grievances of poor black America in order to evade justice.