In a post apocalyptic world where a war between humans and machines has left only devastation, nine sackcloth dolls must interpret the instructions left by their creator to bring about salvation. There is no question that Tim Burton has had a hand in this as one of the producers. There is a worm-like monster in it that could well be a cousin of Nightmare Before Christmas’ Oogie Boogie and the general creepy aesthetic has his unique stamp all over it. Despite being animated, it definitely isn’t for children and probably not for most adults either. The film is visually stunning but the storyline is very simplistic and somewhat unoriginal.
Two men (Martin Compston and Eddie Marsan) attempt to pull off the perfect kidnapping but absolutely nothing in this film is as it seems, and their plans are soon under threat. This film hangs on the shocking twists in its plot, one of which literally made me exclaim out loud, so I don’t want to give anything away. Some twists are more impressive than others and I have to give the writers kudos for being brave enough to go all out with some of them. As kidnap films go, Alice Creed, proves that you don’t need a big budget to create suspense and it’s definitely worth a watch. However… the character development is a bit ropey, which makes some of it a little hard to swallow, especially when there are literally three people in the film.
Major movie star, Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff), drifts from role to role, filling the gaps between jobs with booze and casual sex, barely aware of what’s going on around him. When his ex, unexpectedly leaves his eleven year old daughter, Cleo (Elle Fanning), in his care he finds himself forced to assess his life and question his motivations for everything. In the hands of Disney this would have been a cringe-worthy cheese festival but in the hands of Sofia Coppola, it’s subtle, nuanced and quite lovely. The relationship between Johnny and Cleo seems very real and while the characters are damaged there is no heavy handed moral message being hammered home every five seconds.
Ryan Gosling plays a stuntman and occasional getaway driver who becomes involved in the wrong job after falling for his married neighbour (Carey Mulligan). I feel like I’d need to see this film several times to pick up all the delicious symbolism as well as all the little character quirks. Gosling is outstanding playing gentle and brutal like two sides of the same terrifying coin, while Mulligan is never quite as innocent as she seems. Every element has been thought through and the cinematography blends beautifully with the eighties inspired soundtrack. I’m still thinking about it. Even if you’re not into all the little nuances, there’s enough action to keep anyone happy… just be warned… there is a Tarantino-esque approach to violence you should probably prepare yourself for.