Movie: Silence

I wanted to see Silence on the big screen. I also didn’t want to. The Scorsese films I’ve seen have been more in the category of ultra-violent, and filled with characters who little valued human life.

I was glad to have spent the time watching this one. Decades in the making, it tells a story of faith, and what to do when your faith is tested that forces the viewer to think carefully about their own experience. Its lack of soundtrack made me more aware of the sounds around me even days after watching.

Movie: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Movie: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

The opening scene of Jack Reacher 2 – which is in the trailer – pans across the aftermath of a hand-to-hand fight, while the eponymous aggressor Tom Cruise sits in a nearby diner, waiting for law enforcement to arrive. Rather than starting with an action scene, we start after it. This seemed – in the trailer – a clever device, but is more the talisman for an action movie that feels a little phoned-in. 

I wanted to enjoy it, but despite moments of cleverness and amusement, it wasn’t stand-out enough for a Tom Cruise movie.

Movie – Swiss Army Man

Swiss Army Man tells the story of Hank (Paul Dano) – a man stranded on a desert island, who has given up hope of living, and Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) – a dead body. But it’s not a horror film. It’s oddly dramatic and funny; goes to some strange and dark places, but manages to keep a sense of wonder about life. It’s crass, a lot of the humour is around flatulence and other traditional male body humour, but not in the vein of more mainstream comedy movies.

Thanks to Dendy for the free ticket as part of a twitter competition.

Movie – Star Trek Beyond

Movie – Star Trek Beyond (pronounced as per the Madness song)

I really wanted to like this one, but there wasn’t too much there. Plenty of visual spectacle, and some laughs, some character interaction, but there were too many scenes where my response was to think “I know who is going to win this conflict: what’s going to happen after that?” rather than be swept along in what was happening.

One for the completists only.

Movie: Spotlight

Spotlight is a Tom McCarthy (director of The Station Agent) film with an ensemble cast of seasoned Hollywood actors. Though not passing the Bechdel test, the presence of Rachel McAdams in the reporting team helped balance out what would otherwise be a throughly male-dominated environment.

This movie seems like the logical, fictional successor to the 2006 documentary Deliver Us from Evil. Both look at systemic abuse of children in the Catholic church, but present a different approach and structure. In the case of Spotlight, the subject matter is explored through the actions of a team of investigative reporters from the Boston Globe newspaper.

There are a lot of scenes with members of the reporting team: a group of lapsed Catholics, talking about the challenges of faith when they look at a system of organised religion that let them down. While not showing actual abuse in the film, the ideas of abuse of children are discussed in significant detail – if this is something you find upsetting, you’ll want to skip this one.

Otherwise, it’s a well-made feature with a compelling story, and impressive performances from a range of actors.

movie: The Big Short

Movie: The Big Short

A star-studded take on the Global Financial Crisis that’s part drama, part TED talk, and regularly breaks the fourth wall to help explain advanced financial concepts to the audience. Some needless adult content that seems to be included to push up the rating rather than help serve the plot. Perhaps its biggest risk is making the viewer seem like they’ve accessed an unbiased account of events, rather than a particular, incomplete take, but an enjoyable journey for the most part.