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CINEMA Film round-up

Reviews of Creation Stories, Infinitum: Subject Unknown, Silk Road, Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time and Fatale

Creation Stories
Directed by Nick Moran
★★★★

WITH an opening disclaimer — “Most of this happened, some of the names have been changed to protect the guilty” — Creation Stories tells the unforgettable tale of the man behind Britpop, and founder of the infamous Creation Records label, Alan McGee.

This is the man who discovered and championed (among others) Primal Scream, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Libertines and, of course, Oasis.

Based on McGee’s autobiography, it has been co-written by Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting) and Dean Cavanagh, executively produced by Danny Boyle and directed by actor-turned-director Nick Moran, who delivers a psychedelic, explosive yet deliciously fun ride down memory lane and the British music scene of the late 20th century.

It is driven by a phenomenal standout performance by Ewen Bremner, playing the older McGee, who recounts his life story to an LA music journalist (Suki Waterhouse) as the biopic flashes back to his working-class Scottish roots as a teenager and punk rock fan (played by Leo Flanagan), exploring his turbulent relationship with his violent father and his drug fuelled rise to success.

It also explores McGee’s links with New Labour and how he helped Tony Blair get into power. There is an uncomfortable dinner scene at Chequers when Jimmy Savile (Alistair McGowan) suddenly turns up — the beginning of the rot perhaps?

Underscored by a cracking soundtrack and with a biting social edge, it finally puts McGee back in the forefront — and annals — of the music industry.

MD

Available on Sky Cinema March 20

Infinitum: Subject Unknown (15)
Directed by Matthew Butler-Hart
★★★

A WOMAN is trapped in a parallel universe, reliving the same day over and over again — much as we seem to be in lockdown 3.0 — in this intriguing, mind-bending sci-fi thriller by husband and wife team Tori and Matthew Butler-Hart.

This film was admirably written and shot entirely during the first lockdown last year but you wouldn’t know: its aesthetics are impressive.

It is a slick and stylish apocalyptic-looking thriller which plays with your perception of reality. The main character Jane (Tori Butler-Hart, who co-wrote the script with her director husband) is caught in a groundhog day scenario which resets each time she loses her mind.

She wakes up back at square one, not remembering her past actions, though slowly she starts experiencing deja vu.

Uttering few words, Butler-Hart delivers a powerful virtuoso performance as she conveys, with great conviction, Jane’s confusion, fear and frustration — trying time and time again to escape her surroundings.

The film also features Sir Ian McKellen and Conleth Hill in fleeting appearances. But it is Butler-Hart who keeps you invested throughout this film that keeps you guessing until the final frame.

MD
Available on demand March 22

Silk Road (15)
Directed by Tiller Russell
★★★

DESPITE the potential of being this decade’s answer to The Social Network, it’s a landing closer to Billionaire Boys Club for Silk Road — the story of libertarian hipster Ross Ulbricht’s creation of the online marketplace famously referred to (both within and without) as “Amazon for drugs.”

Oft-remembered for his weirdly toxic moments in Jurassic World, Nick Robinson makes for a committed but texturally wanting Ulbricht. Zero Dark Thirty alumnus Jason Clarke, meanwhile, steps up as the corrupt and infinitely more interesting antagonist, DEA agent Rick Bowden, whose efforts to convict Ulbricht send the vulnerable family man down an equally criminal path.

Clarke is solid (though devoid of charisma as ever) and aided immeasurably by a screenplay from writer-director Tiller Russell, which presents itself with the veneer of objectivity, only to continually frame Bowden as its true villain — constantly flying in opposition to even its own characters’ moral latitudes.

An engaging but startlingly basic “criminal-entrepreneur” yarn, Russell brings a dim spark of attitude to the directorial table and Clarke’s giving up of the goods unquestionably, but a lazy screenplay and a lacklustre presence from Robinson ensure this Silk Road comes to a dead end.

VC

Available on demand

Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time
Directed by Lili Horvat
★★★★

 

NOT a title that would vex your average Primitive Radio Gods fan, the reality-bending Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time offers up a triumphant sophomore effort for rising star and The Wednesday Child writer-director Lili Horvat.

The story of a Hungarian doctor returning home to Budapest after falling in love during a chance encounter, relative unknown Natasa Stork is the young woman soon reeling from the discovery that her paramour in fact has no memory of her.

Punctuated with vibrant use of an otherwise quite naturalistic visual palette, Horvat cooks up the romantic equivalent of Jacob’s Ladder with this compelling — if not entirely resolved — mediation on the strength to be found in romantically powered emotion.

Stork is an absolute barnstormer — her discovery Horvat’s most enchanting of touches — and yet it’s the director herself who ultimately wins out here, with an insightful and captivating romantic drama.

VC

Available on demand

Fatale (15)
Directed by Deon Taylor
★★★

MAKING quite the name for himself as the go-to male victim of sexually charged for-the-adults thrillers, Michael Ealy’s back on our screens with… a sexually charged for-the-adults thriller.

Not to let proceedings fall entirely to predictability however, The Intruder director Deon Taylor at least has the foresight to offer up one casting against type: chucking in Hilary Swank as its villain!

Taking cues from Unlawful Entry, Ealy is the married man whose weekend infidelity soon follows him home in the form of the unhinged investigating officer assigned to a burglary.

The kind of joyously sleazy crotch-ripping trash found in the Katherine Heigl thriller Unforgettable (her finest work), Fatale’s no more imaginative or game-changing than a dozen other post-Fatal Attraction psycho-thrillers. But, with the likes of genre veterans Taylor and Ealy, flanked by Swank having an absolute ball, it’s a gleefully fun one, at least.

VC

Available on demand

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