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CINEMA Film round-up

Reviews of Infamous, The Vigil, Make Up, Summerland and Proxima

Infamous (15)
Directed by Joshua Caldwell
2*

A MODERN-DAY teenage Bonnie and Clyde become a social media sensation with their criminal postings in this morality tale about the evils of courting online fame.

Bella Thorne and Jake Manley play the charismatic young lovers from troubled backgrounds who rob their way across the country.

She is the driving force who just wants to be famous whatever the cost as long as she racks up the “likes” but he has the moral sense to know that killing cops and livestreaming your armed robberies isn’t going to end well.

Writer-director Joshua Caldwell delivers a slick and stylish crime thriller with engaging performances from Thorne and Manley.

But the problem is that the film doesn’t make any groundbreaking statement or judgement over young people’s obsession with becoming Instagram or Tik Tok famous.

In fact, it almost glorifies the means justifying the ends.

Available on video on demand.

The Vigil (15)
Directed by Keith Thomas
4*

UNFOLDING over the course of one never-ending night, this taut and electrifying supernatural horror preys on psychological and religious fears in a fresh and unsettling manner.

It follows Yakov (Dave Davis), a former Hassidic Jew who, strapped for cash, reluctantly agrees to work as a shomer — watching over the dead body of a community member — for a recently deceased Holocaust survivor in Brooklyn.

Once there, he is confronted by a demonic entity who targets broken souls.

This is a beautifully crafted debut feature by Keith Thomas which is redolent with Jewish culture and mysticism and which provides a unique perspective as Yakov is forced to confront his demons as he battles with his loss of faith.

Driven by a formidable performance from Davis, this definitely has to be seen on the big screen to appreciate and enjoy all its many heart-stopping moments.

In cinemas.

Make Up (15)
Directed by Claire Oakley
4*

SET in a holiday caravan park in Cornwall, this fascinating and haunting drama about first love and sexual awakenings is an impressive left-of-field debut feature by Claire Oakley.

When the shy and quiet Ruth (the superlative Molly Windsor) finally joins her teenage boyfriend Tom (Joseph Quinn) on the Cornish coast, her discovery of a mysterious lip imprint on his mirror and red hair on his T-shirt gives her cause to be concerned.

As she becomes obsessed with the thought he could be cheating on her, it leads her to the feisty and extrovert Jade (Stefanie Martini) and down an unexpected path of self-discovery.

With its ghostly overtones, eerily remote location and eccentric characters, you can’t help feeling something is slightly off but you can’t quite put your finger on it.

A film that lingers in the mind.

Summerland (12A)
Directed by Jessica Swale
3*

SET over the course of a long, hot English summer, this wartime drama follows the story of a fiercely independent recluse who inadvertently opens her cold heart to a young evacuee from London.

The grumpy child-hater Alice (Gemma Arterton, in her best role to date), dubbed a witch by the locals, is a folklore investigator whose life’s work is to debunk myths and fantasy stories while young Frank (a captivating Lucas Bond), misses his mother and his fighter pilot father and just wants to escape the realities of war and his life.

His unannounced and unwanted arrival makes Alice revisit her past and a love affair with the vibrant Vera (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) that haunts her still.

The film opens and closes as an older Alice (Penelope Wilton) in 1975 Kent remembers her younger self in this compelling and uplifting debut feature by Jessica Swale which examines friendship, passion, faith spirituality and loss.

In cinemas.

Proxima (12A)
Directed by Alice Winocour
3*

AN ASTRONAUT prepares for a one-year mission on board the international space station in a gripping drama that explores the difficult question of whether a woman can go into space and still be a good mother.

Eva Green is phenomenal as the career-driven mother Sarah Loreau who finds herself torn between her young daughter and her work when she is offered her dream job.

So she entrusts Stella (Zelie Boulant) to her father and her ex-husband, an astrophysicist who also has work issues, with taking care of their child.

The film shows in minute detail the training that Sarah and her two male colleagues have to undergo in preparation for their space flight.

She faces sexism from alpha-male US astronaut Mike Shannon (Matt Dillon) who doesn’t feel she is up to the job and, forced to over-compensate, works herself to the bone.

The touching moments between Sarah and her daughter provide the emotional core of this powerful drama which is a celebration of all the women and mothers that have gone on space missions.

And there is a special montage during the end credits in homage to all those women who have indeed proved that you can be an astronaut and a good mother.

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