Sunday, February 24, 2013
4 out of 5. Fabián Bielinsky's THE AURA is a quiet minimalist crime thriller that gives you very little clues as to what happens next. It's austere atmosphere also helps to make this film very engaging. The main character, played by Ricardo Darin embodies all these elements as his dialogue and acting are both understated. His face reveals a man who is thinking through the decisions and yet he gives away nothing of what's to come.This is one of those films that are full of surprises in terms of acting, directing and overall filmmaking. There's a transition in here from Esteban's home to a traveling sequence that I've only really seen used in comics and works wonderfully here, too. If you want something different and evocative this would be it.
4 out of 5. Director Steve McQueen's HUNGER shows an alarming skill as a filmmaker. Seemingly to come out of nowhere he's surgically crafted a rather beautifully shot, well-acted, gut-wrenching poem. The writing by he and Enda Walsh is verbose and yet spills over with story. The pacing is intense at times and then cold empty silence. There's one scene where the camera is locked in a two-shot of a prisoner and a priest that is essentially the bulk of the dialogue. It goes on far longer than you expect but what is revealed makes it necessary for the director to get out of the way. While the performances are quite good the emotional detachment is the elephant in the room and I think the audience feels it too. Smart and skilled...it'll be hard to do better. Because of the rough subject matter (think Midnight Express amped up) it was hard to fully "enjoy" it. Yet it's a must see for filmmakers.