Tag Archives: Entertainment One

Enemy (2013, Denis Villeneuve)

Enemy opens with an incredibly cruel and unpleasant scene. It's almost like a dare to the viewer to keep going. The film only runs ninety minutes and the first thirty or so minutes is summary. Sort of. Director Villeneuve and screenwriter Javier Gullón spend this first third encouraging the viewer to guess where Enemy is going. As it turns out, that invitation is the film's only red herring–amid the litany of implied ones.

The film concerns an unhappy college lecturer (Jake Gyllenhaal), who happens to find he has a doppelgänger in an actor. Gyllenhaal's discontent has already driven his girlfriend (Mélanie Laurent) away; he fixates on this doppelgänger. The investigation is both Hitchcockian and not. Describing Villeneuve's style, which has as much to do with the sterile Toronto setting as it does anything else, is difficult and probably not particularly useful. It's exceptional filmmaking, but Enemy moves so fast, Villeneuve doesn't want the viewer to linger. Not because there are problems, but because lingering distracts from the film's purpose.

Once Gyllenhaal confronts the doppelgänger, the film's focus flips. Not to Gyllenhaal in the other role, but to Sarah Gadon as the doppelgänger's wife.

While Gyllenhaal is fantastic, Gadon is even better. The film never explains itself, but all of Gadon's thoughts and suspicions are discernible. Her expressiveness guides the viewer through the film.

The music from Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans, Nicolas Bolduc's photography, Matthew Hannam's editing, it's all great.

Villeneuve, Gyllenhaal, Gadon, Gullón–they make something very special here.

4/4★★★★

CREDITS

Directed by Denis Villeneuve; screenplay by Javier Gullón, based on a novel by José Saramago; director of photography, Nicolas Bolduc; edited by Matthew Hannam; music by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans; production designer, Patrice Vermette; produced by M.A. Faura and Niv Fichman; released by Entertainment One.

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal (Adam + Anthony), Mélanie Laurent (Mary), Sarah Gadon (Helen) and Isabella Rossellini (Mother).


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Honour (2014, Shan Khan)

It's been a while since I've seen something to remind me how much I hate a fractured narrative in film. There are the handful of good examples and then the multitude of terrible ones (usually aping one of the good ones). Honour is one of the bad ones. Writer and director Khan wraps the film into a ball, going with bombastic scenes to remind the viewer of their place in the timeline. Unfortunately, the bombast carries over to the rest of the film, which utterly lacks subtext.

Aiysha Hart plays a young Muslim woman with a hideous family. Her mother (Harvey Virdi) hates her for dishonoring the family and controls her also evil, dimwitted brother (Faraz Ayub). They conspire to kill her because she's carrying on with Nikesh Patel. Patel has been lying to Hart about his engagement status and his willingness to be with her. Khan opens the film with some Muslim women getting assaulted on a train–in public, so you know the rest of the world doesn't care–then proceeds to show all Muslim men (and half the women) are awful anyway. Except Shubham Saraf, as the reluctant, well-meaning brother.

But none of the family members have honest relationships so it all feels cheap and exploitative. If Khan had just given Hart a machete and done a proper revenge thriller, it'd have been at least diverting exploitation.

The crappy script and pedestrian direction don't help either.

Hart's appealing, but her character's so lame, it's hard to care.

Big fail.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Written and directed by Shan Khan; director of photography, David Higgs; edited by Beverley Mills; music by Theo Green; production designer, Andy Harris; produced by Nisha Parti and Jason Newmark; released by Entertainment One UK.

Starring Aiysha Hart (Mona), Paddy Considine (Bounty), Faraz Ayub (Kasim), Shubham Saraf (Adel), Harvey Virdi (Mother) and Nikesh Patel (Tanvir).


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Home (2013, Jono Oliver)

Home is never inspiring or sentimental. Writer-director Oliver lets sentimentality graze the film graze once–and it’s a film about sympathetic mental patients reintegrating so it’s amazing he was able to get away with a sidewalk picnic without sentimentality–but the realities of the characters quickly reign in any loose tender particles.

The film concerns Gbenga Akinnagbe and his last two week and a half weeks in a New York mental hospital. He’s trying to get an apartment so he can be discharged (hence the title). Even though Akinnagbe has a goal and a set time frame, Oliver takes Home a lot of different places. The script takes its time fully realizing Akinnagbe’s character; the subplots almost seem independent of the narrative’s time limit. They move on deeper layers.

The film’s supporting performances are all stellar. Oliver makes sure all of his cast takes the time to listen–or, at the right time, interrupt–but also to think. Exceptional supporting work from Victor Williams, Frank Harts, Danny Hoch and Judah Bellamy.

Of course, while Oliver’s direction is phenomenal (the composition is quietly stunning and precise) and the film has excellent photography from Sung Rae Cho–Ulysses Guidotti’s editing is singular–none of it would work without Akinnagbe. Home starts with a narrative disruption; Oliver takes a long time to establish the ground situation, which is disorienting. The film relies on Akinnagbe’s character to navigate, even after it reveals Akinnagbe isn’t necessarily the most reliable navigator.

Home’s a striking success.

3.5/4★★★½

CREDITS

Written and directed by Jono Oliver; director of photography, Sung Rae Cho; edited by Ulysses Guidotti; music by Gingger Shankar; production designer, Eric Oliver; produced by Daniela Barbosa and Ged Dickersin; released by Entertainment One.

Starring Gbenga Akinnagbe (Jack Hall), Danny Hoch (Dundee), Joe Morton (Donald Hall), K.K. Moggie (Denise), Tawny Cypress (Laura), Victor Williams (Hamilton), Isiah Whitlock Jr. (Samuel), Tonya Pinkins (Esmin), Elena Hurst (Melissa), Frank Harts (Smitty), Adrian Martinez (Hector), Eddie R. Brown III (Travis), Alexander Flores (Thomas), Nick Choksi (Max), Deborah Offner (Sondra), Theo Stockman (Charles), Marilyn Torres (Viveca), Venida Evans (Ginnie), Ananias Dixon (Leo), Judah Bellamy (John) and James McDaniel (Dr. Parker).


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