Movies – 248

Human Capital

The best and most significant Italian movie of the year, and it’s not screening at Norton St? Yep, (sigh) – says it all about the decline of Leichhardt as “Little Italy.” Paulo Virizi’s chic and very stylish melodrama/thriller has already scooped up a fist full of awards, played to sold-out sessions at the Sydney Film Festival and will most likely feature at next years Oscars.

It continues Italian cinema’s proud tradition of dramatizing class tensions, and throws together two families – one extremely wealthy, the other middle class strivers. Their fates are joined by a fatal hit-and-run – a cyclist is hit by a speeding SUV on an icy road, and we return to that event three times while exploring the lead-up and aftermath from different points of view. It’s an agonisingly tense who-done-it; each retelling teases out more details, as well as the lies, pretence, greed and webs of deceit that govern life in contemporary Italy.

That sounds heavy, but really, it’s not – this is class, pure class!

MA15+ at Dendy Cinemas now. Be quick though.

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movies---captiveThe Captive

Canadian auteur Atom Egoyan had huge critical success with Exotica and The Sweet Hereafter, and ever since he’s been returning to sinister stories of ordinary people with secret sins and kinks. Often they’re set in snowy Ontario, he’s back there again in The Captive. Doting father and husband, Matthew (Ryan Reynolds), leaves his sleeping daughter alone in his truck while he ducks into a roadside diner.

When he returns, she is gone and instantly his world is destroyed.

Struggling under the weight of loss, suspicion and guilt, his marriage breaks down. Through all of the heartbreak and turmoil he never loses hope that he’ll find his missing daughter. Eight years later a girl who matches her description is sighted on the internet. But her actual whereabouts are unknown, and soon Matthew is in a race against time to save her.

MA 15+ on now (Unpreviewed)

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Coal barons (and Gina Rinehart) have largely replaced loggers as this era’s most despised capitalists, but it’s still a bit of a risk for Susanne Bier to give us a man who chops down trees as a hero – even a dashing and hunky one (Bradely Cooper). And can his George Pemperton be called a hero? After all, he’s an ruthless entrepreneur who shoots his business partner in a “hunting accident” rather than pay him out (Take note, Gina, watch out, kids). But, compared to other characters in this bleak 1920’s melodrama set in the forests of North Carolina, he’s practically as saintly as Bob Brown himself.

That brings us to Serena, the lovely seductress who turns his head early on (Jennifer Lawrence, who turns heads effortlessly). “She’s beautiful. Wounded. Mad for trees,” a friend tells George, and that seals his fate. Serena proves to be as resourceful and tough as any man who swings an axe for a living, and Lawrence does her usual thing extremely well. Though Katniss fans may be shocked to discover their girl is less Joan of Arc, more Lady Macbeth.

No one give her a bow and arrow. please!

MA15+ on now.


movies-theoneiloveThe One I Love

The makers have asked “no spoilers please!” and most overseas reviewers have obliged. Though the big twist in this snappy tale of an unhappy couple on a weekend therapy retreat occurs within 20 minutes (and it’s a zinger), so why be coy?

Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men’s Peggy Olsen) make the most of Charlie McDowell’s Twilight Zone-like premise, they’re great together and yes, it’s funny and clever-clever. We’re being given life lessons here, as in Relationships 101.

But mostly our brains will be spinning so fast they will hurt.

M from Dec 11.


ReviewsRussell Edwards