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Kilburnlad

Unsane


Unsane

A very disturbing film that amazingly was shot entirely on an iPhone 7 Plus in 4K. As a consequence it must have the shortest list of final credits that I have ever seen. The picture quality was obviously different to that of conventional filming, giving it at times a documentary feel, and the aspect ratio was noticeably different. But that is enough of the technical background. What about the film?

Claire Foy plays Sawyer Valentini, a bright young woman who has recently started a new job at a bank in Pennsylvania. But she has a secret. She has moved from Boston, where her mother still lives, to escape a stalker, David Strine. She met him when helping out at a hospice, where she used to read to his dying father. He became besotted with her, and now she thinks she sees him almost everywhere she goes. After believing that she spotted him in the bank, she seeks advice from a counsellor at a nearby hospital. During the interview she mentions occasional suicide thoughts, which is enough to warrant some further treatment. But after she signs some papers, without carefully reading them, she finds herself admitted against her will, and moved into a ward with other disturbed people. No amount of protestation has any effect, and the local police ignore her call for help once presented with the signed forms. She is trapped.

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The Shining


The Shining

We watched this classic horror film yesterday evening as it was Halloween. Released in 1980, contemporary reviews felt that it didn't do justice to Stephen King's book of the same name, but over time it has gained respect and is now regarded by some as one of the greatest horror films ever made. Personally, I found the acting a bit stilted, perhaps reflecting the period, while much of the psychological tension came from the soundtrack, with loud dramatic crescendos accompanying the critical moments. Very old school horror.

The plot is straightforward enough. Jack Torrence, played by Jack Nicholson, takes a job as the winter caretaker of the Overlook luxury hotel, which is always snowed-in during the winter. He will be there alone with his wife and son, but as a writer he relishes the tranquility. Nevertheless, the hotel manager does point out that the isolation can be a problem for some people, and recounts the story of how one previous caretaker, Charles Grady, went berserk, killing his wife and two daughters before turning a shotgun on himself. During the family's tour of the hotel it was also ominously pointed out that the building had been constructed on a Native American burial site. At this point one realised that it wasn't perhaps the place to be. Also during their introduction to the building, we learn that their son, Danny, has a telepathic ability, this being shared by the hotel's chef, Dick Halloran, who refers to it as 'shining'.

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Personal Shopper


Personal Shopper

Personal Shopper competed for the Palme d"Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. We were in Nice at the time and saw a couple of 'Cannes' films at local cinemas, but not this one. It is now on Amazon for rental at £1.99, so we viewed it on Thursday evening. All I knew about it was that Kristen Stewart plays a personal shopper, and that there was a psychological mystery aspect.

Set mainly in Paris, Maureen Cartwright, the shopper, is first introduced to us as she arrives at an old house, accompanied by another woman. She is left there alone, and the place is quite spooky. It transpires it is the house where Maureen's brother lived, the woman who accompanied her there being her brother's girlfriend, Lara. Her brother, who was her twin, is dead. The reason for being in the house is that potential buyers want go be sure that it is free from evil spirits, but Maureen also would like to try to make contact with her brother. Both he and Maureen believed themselves to be mediums, each having promised to try to make contact in the event of the other's death. It appears that her brother, Lewis, was more convinced of the medium thing than Maureen, who seems at times to be somewhat ambivalent. She does encounter a spirit, but it isn't Lewis, and once the spirit has left her job there is done.

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Nocturnal Animals

I went to see this film knowing next to nothing about it. It's a tricky film to review because it would be wrong to give too much away. The power of the film is in the way it unfolds, and it's one of those films that requires you interpret what's going on. My interpretation may not be the same as yours.

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As the intro starts we see a number of extremely obese women, naked all bar majorette hats and epaulets, a not too pleasant scene, and one that makes you think what an earth is this film about. We soon learn that these women are art exhibits in a gallery where we're introduced to Susan Morrow, the art gallery owner played by Amy Adams. Susan is married to Hutton, and it's soon apparent that all is not well with their marriage, and Hutton's emotions are in any event elsewhere.

This is Susan's second marriage, her first husband Edward, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, being an entirely different character to Hutton. Edward is a writer and Susan receives a manuscript from him entitled Nocturnal Animals. The book is dedicated to her and Nocturnal Animal was a nickname he used for her. At the same time as she starts to read the manuscript she becomes aware of Hutton's possible infidelity. She finds the novel devastating, and as she reads we see the story of the novel unfold as a separate story within a story, with Jake Gyllenhaal playing a husband, Tony Hastings, and Isla Fisher, whose appearance is easily confused with Amy Adams, playing his wife Laura. They and their daughter endure horrific treatment after being run off the road during the night by three men.

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