Our fifth set of reviews from the 2014 Jameson Dublin International Film Festival are once again from our regular contributor Mick McGovern, follow him @amawaster, visit his site amawaster.com and read his Netflix recommendations for Spooool.ie here.
Mood Indigo (L’écume des jours)
Director: Michel Gondry
Cast: Audrey Tatou, Romain Duris, Gad Elmaleh
Country of Origin: France/Belgium
Duration: 125 minutes
Be warned if you can’t stand whimsy or quirk, because this is Gondry turned up to 11. All of his visual motifs and tricks are on show in his adaptation of Boris Vian’s book “Froth on the Daydream” that deals with Colin (Romain Duris), his servant/mentor (Omar Sy) and best friend (Gad Elmaleh) who’s obsessed with the work of philospher Jean-Sol Partre (not a typo on my part by the way) both of who are in love, so Colin wants to be as well. He eventually meets and falls in love with Chloe (Audrey Tatou) but it’s not long before their idyllic lives are turned upside down.
Because of that structure it’s pretty much a game of two halves, the first being sweet enough to make diabetics feel uncomfortable and a second half that gets darker by the minute, a nice dream descending into a horrible crumbling nightmare. There is so much going on visually that with a running time of two hours it will test some people’s patience but personally I was enthralled pretty much throughout and loved nearly every minute of it.
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Cast: Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves
Country of Origin: US
Duration: 92 minutes
Macon Blair plays a Dwight, a homeless vagrant living on his wits who returns home after hearing someone is getting released from prison. What follows is a fantastically-paced bloody revenge thriller that manages to mix hardcore violence and deadpan comedy about as well as you possibly can.
The film’s success lies with the central character Dwight – one minute on top of everything, the next so far out of his depth it’s frightening; at one minute sympathetic, the next loathsome and terrifying. There are some amazing gasp-inducing scenes that are so skilfully done for a low budget indie, particular the violent moments.
The Wonders (Plaot)
Director: Avi Nesher
Cast: Adir Miller, Ori Hizkiah, Yehuda Levi
Country of Origin: Israel
Duration: 112 minutes
A light Israeli film-noir set in Jerusalem that deals with a graphic artist forced to interact with a mysterious holy man who is being held in a nearby apartment. It’s a very different film than you normally see, it blends together religion, comedy, animation, noir references (the detective is called Jacob Gittes for instance, and we have a femme fatale).
It’s a combo which creates a plot that is quite complicated and very strange which, when director Nesher said in the Q&A after that it was based on a true story, and not only that, a similar case was happening again currently, blew my mind altogether. It also does a nice job of showing the odd mix of cultures that combine to make Jerusalem what it is now, the orthodoxy combining with the new.