In Marrakech, a British couple on the skids looking to reignite their stagnant marriage (an always slightly slimy but marginally honorable Ewan McGregor, the professor, and a delightful Naomie Harris, the barrister) accidentally befriend a bawdy yet charming Russian mobster (a smashingly good Stellan Skarsgard) and his brood of children in peril. Wouldn’t you know it that Russian guy is looking to have help delivering a secret bank file to MI6 and get safe passage for his family on the eve of a shady financial deal his boss would kill people to cover up. Once back in London, one British spy (Damien Lewis, nicely against type as the buttoned-up good guy) makes it his mission to use this information to bring down a certain MP (Jeremy Northam) involved in the corruption.
Susanna White’s jazzed up version of a John le Carre film adaptation is far better and more enjoyable than the ho-hum reviews and the movie’s own slickly off-putting first twenty minutes would have you believe. Continue reading →
Lars Von Trier’s epic ode to depression and the end of the world – perhaps one and the same – opens with Richard Wagner’s Prelude to Tristan and Isolde playing over a series of breathtaking, beautiful and perfectly composed shots that at first appear to be stills until you realize they are moving in ultra slow motion. With the hauntingly operatic music full of swooning lilts and gasping rises into the stratosphere, Von Trier symbolically (and in some shots literally) transmits what we are about to experience. The slow motion represents the trudging through emotions while the music elicits thoughts of a great tragedy about to befall us all. And then boom! – he lays all of his cards right on the table as we watch in simultaneous horror and joy as two worlds collide. It’s an eerily quiet yet emotionally bombastic counter action to Terence Malick’s creation of the universe sequence in The Tree of Life. Both films, operating at opposite poles and giving us glimpses into the vast outward expanse of human imagination through the precipitous downward spiral into the mind and madness of one, are miraculous masterpieces.