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Zettel Film Reviews » Political

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The Bling Ring – Sofia Coppola A waste of space movie about a waste of space lifestyle

Tweet     The Bling Ring – Sofia Coppola A rarity: a movie without a single genuine emotion throughout its full 90 minutes. The unspeakable ersatz world of celebrity slavishly but pathetically emulated by a bunch of young people descending like a plague of designer-brand locusts to strip celebrity homes of every famous named product […]

Zero Dark Thirty – Kathryn Bigelow. The assassination of a terrorist

Tweet    Zero Dark Thirty – Kathryn Bigelow Lincoln could be described as portraying the unprincipled pursuit of a principled objective, in conflict with the principled pursuit of an unprincipled end. It is a tragic lesson of history that when old men possessed of power talk with passion about principles – young people die. No […]

Lincoln – Steven Spielberg. The past is another place….

Tweet    Lincoln – Steven Spielberg “The past is another country. They do things differently there.” L P Hartley’s now almost proverbial opening lines of The Go-Between constantly resonated in the back of my mind throughout this powerful, accomplished, superbly acted film. With typical authority and characteristically meticulous attention to detail, Spielberg assembles to great […]

Killing Them Softly – Andrew Dominik: The absence of other minds

Tweet        Killing Them Softly – Andrew Dominik One of the deepest and most interesting issues in Philosophy is that of knowledge of other minds. How is it that we can come to know, understand, care, hate, love another person? Indeed the idea of what it is to be a person is an […]

Oranges, sunshine, Australia, deportation, abuse

Tweet Oranges and Sunshine – Jim Loach Hypocrisy is the besetting vice of the English. Many of our greatest writers, like George Eliot and Dickens knew this and created some of the squirmyest hypocrites in fiction: from the Rev Edward Casaubon and Nicholas Bulstrode in Middlemarch to David Copperfield’s Uriah Heep. Fans of Austen could […]

Il Divo – the extraordinary life of Giulio Andreotti* – an essay

Tweet Il Divo – Paolo Sorrentino (2008) Shakespearean in content, operatic in tone, writer director Paolo Sorrentino’s Il Divo (the extraordinary life of Giulio Andreotti) is a masterly work. Richly textured and at times demanding, Sorrentino’s film is a profound study of power, and its irresistible affects on men who possess it and those drawn […]

State of Play – Crowe, Affleck, re-find their game

Tweet State of Play – Ken MacDonald Question: you have a cleverly plotted, superbly crafted, well written movie with first class actors on top of their form: these ingredients are drawn together with assurance and style by an excellent Director and edited to a heart-beat – at times racing with the breakneck pace of events; […]

Gran Torino – stereotypes, old, Asian, ethnic meet Dirty Harry

Tweet Gran Torino – Clint Eastwood Dirty Harry got to be old. And mean. I guess we expected that. Curmudgeonly, cranky, rollie-smoking, beer-drinking – a can and by-the-neck man, nary a glass in sight – ex-Korean War vet Walt Kowalski isn’t actually cop Harry Callaghan, just a kind of alter ego ‘with-no-name’ grown old, prejudices […]

Slumdog Millionaire – a chicken tikka masala of a film

Tweet Slumdog Millionaire – Danny Boyle Slumdog Millionaire is like a shot of bad tequila – feels great as it goes down then begins to burn at your gut and eventually makes you feel queasy. ‘Slumdog’, for it already has an abbreviated nickname; is a nice, naïve, pacy little romantic fairytale knocked up inexpensively by […]

The Reader – compassion not forgiveness: a moral dilemma

Tweet The Reader – Stephen Daldry This is a morally complex film: which probably explains why it has polarised critical opinion. The Reader demonstrates better than any recent film I can remember, the vital importance of what the viewer brings to the artistic experience – both to the quality of that experience and the value […]