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JDIFF 2014 Reviews #6 – Finsterworld, We Are The Best! (Vi är bäst!), The Double, The Zero Theorem

Our sixth set of reviews from the 2014 Jameson Dublin International Film Festival are Mick McGovern, follow him @amawaster, visit his site and read his Netflix recommendations for here.

Follow all our JDIFF 2014 coverage here

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Director: Frauke Finsterwalder
Cast: Corinna Harfouch, Sandra Hüller, Ronald Zehrfeld
Country of Origin: Germany
Duration: 91 minutes
Year: 2013

Novelist Christian Kracht’s first screenplay is co-written and directed by his wife and is an ensemble piece where everyone’s seemingly separate lives intertwine over the course of the movie.

It deals for the most part with people seemingly unable to communicate fully with each other who are also struggling with how they should act or fit into modern Germany, a character even at one point claims there are no German role models to look up to.

Beautifully shot, nicely paced and full of black humour, Kracht at the Q&A after admitted Todd Solondz as an influence and it is full of sequences where your knee jerk response to laugh or feel bummed out is strongly tested.

viWe Are The Best! (Vi är bäst!)

Director: Lukas Moodysson
Cast: Mira Barkhammar, Mira Grosin, Liv LeMoyne
Country of Origin: Sweden
Duration: 102 minutes
Year: 2013

After loving Moodysson’s Together and being shaken to the core by Lilya 4-Ever his last few films have unfortunately held very little interest for me, but thankfully We Are The Best! – based on his wife’s graphic novel – is simply fantastic.

A tale of three 12/13 year old girls who form a punk band in Stockholm in 1982 might not sound like the most fertile ground for a really fun heart-warming coming of age tale, but it is. The interaction between the girls as their friendships and their musical “abilities” develop is brilliantly played out and allows for natural and organic humour to permeate the movie at nearly every turn, the naturalistic style of the camerawork, jerky and almost documentary like also helps.

If Good Vibrations tickled you at all last year, then you will really love this.

double2The Double

Director: Richard Ayoade
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn, Noah Taylor
Country of Origin: UK
Duration: 93 minutes
Year: 2013

Ayaode does his take on Dostoyevsky’s novel of the same name, while nowhere near as immediately accessible and as easy to enjoy as Submarine, the Double is a fine film nonetheless. The plot centres around Simon (Eisenberg) a put upon office worker who feels unable to change his lot in life and is then slowly driven mad by the arrival of his double, who while physically similar is anything but. The look of the film is great and gives it a sense of other worldliness as does the editing and sound of the film. The performances from everyone involved (and there’s quite a number of recognisable faces in the cast) are great but particularly from Eisenberg, playing himself and his double.

waltzThe Zero Theorem

Director: Terry Gilliam
Cast: Christoph Waltz, Mélanie Thierry, David Thewlis
Country of Origin: UK/Romania
Duration: 107 minutes
Year: 2013

The Zero Theorem was disappointing unfortunately. It’s centred around Christoph Waltz’s character, a worker drone tasked to crack the code for the Zero Theorem as part of his job by Management, a job seemingly impossible and guaranteed to drive him mad. To make things even more complicated he is also being distracted by a beautiful woman with unclear motives and a teenage boy seemingly more gifted than him at what he does.

Technology and people’s relationship with it plays a big part in this movie, and as is normally the case with this theme its a very hard thing to pull off cinematically and make it really engaging and interesting. In saying that though, this is most definitely a Terry Gilliam film, and hits on themes of his past work but doesn’t improve on them really, and while there are some good moments, I personally felt they were too few and far between.