The Wings Of The Dove (15) 108 mins x 1%“?er
Director lain Softley’s intelligent, emotionally devastating adaptation of Henry James’s novel confidently side-steps the pitfalls of stuffy costume drama. It brings the action forward to 1910, extending the idyllic Venice sojourn enjoyed by its triangle of lovers and presenting a far more sympathetic reading of its flawed heroine, Kate Croy.
Vividly brought to life by Helena Bonham Carter - whose astonishing performance explores a dark, complex eroticism that we've not seen from her before - Kate is seen as an ambitious ’new woman’ trapped by social convention and motivated by a complicated mixture of sexual passion, selflessness and greed.
Prevented by her domineering Aunt Maude (Charlotte Rampling) from marrying her humble journalist lover Merton Densher (Linus Roache), Kate continues their clandestine meetings. In the meantime, she seeks solace and financial salvation through her friendship with rich, sickly American Milly Theale (Alison Elliott), who is rumoured to be suffering from a terminal disease.
Escaping from London to Venice, the trio court and circle one another like masked carnival revellers hiding both their faces and their true feelings. Beset by contradictory and not always admirable impulses, Kate plots to pair Milly off with Merton and inherit her fortune, but her plan backfires badly when she starts to feel threatened by their growing intimacy.
Director Softley and screenwriter Hossein Amini draw out the contemporary resonances, taking bold, creative liberties with the text in order to deepen our psychological insights into the characters. Amini's dialogue is spare yet telling, forcing the actors to rely on body language and facial expressions rather than emotive speechifying, a strategy reinforced by Softely's
Ant invasion: humans v giant insects in Starship Troopers
Starship Troopers (15) 129 mins
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Helena Bonham Carter and Linus Roache in The Wings Of The Dove
at the night of (;lf;ffl(?'lfl Ciritirﬁi‘ iDertiSt’? Richardsi, and throws :n his lot With the I‘~.foI)ile .ritaritry smile she shoots off to the Starfleet
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repeated use of lingering, almost analytical close-ups.
Thanks in no small part to Edouard Serra's eye- ravishing photography and Sandy Powell's exquisite costume designs, Softley's treatment of the Venice locations and period clothing is expressive rather than decorative, reflecting and reinforcing the characters' behaviour rather than simply providing an attractive backdrop for it.
The final love-making scene in Merton's cramped London bedroom is extraordinary, distilling into one heartbreaking moment of intimacy all that has happened between Kate and Merton up to that point. Ignore the redundant coda, showing Merton back in Venice, which was imposed by film company Miramax in a misguided attempt to soften the impact of Softley’s true ending. (Nigel Floyd)
.94 Glasgow Film Theatre and Edinburgh Film/rouse from Fri 2 fan
of alien bugs who are hell-bent on Wiping humanity from the face of the galaxy In one sense, it actually is a live action cartoon, With the giant bugs ~ and there are millions of them - being coinputer-tienerated Not that y0u notice (except for a little glitch when they run around) as the animation work is first rate
Despite its extreme and gory slice 'n’ dice Violence, one reading of the moVie's Sub-text is decidedly anti- militaristic The war is precipitated by human intrLISion into the bugs' territory and the ensuing retaliation seized by Earth's regime as a perfect excuse for all-out war Any military- based society is gomg to seek Out a foe to justify itself, and in the bugs, they have a perfect enemy If thousands of Mobile Infantry die in the process, who cares they are mere numbers and it is the suryival cf the species that counts
While not completer overriding the suspicion that this is another excuse for big b0ys to play With ever more c‘OmpIex tOys, it is this anti-military theme which holds sway. Even if it does justin a thrilling Violence-fest in the process (Thom Dibdin) a General release from Fri 2 Jan
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new releases FILM
Regeneration (15) 113 minutes “k x x
Near the beginning of Regeneration, an Olympian camera slowly pans across World War I trenches, taking in a Vista of the IiVing, dead and dying adrift in a sea of grey mud, Half-submerged bodies poke out as if flesh and muck have fused into one element It's a silent, but painfully VIVld vision of hell. Faithful to Pat Barker’s source novel, Gillies Mackinnon's film is rather sparing in such depictions of trench life, though when they do appear, they pack a Visceral punch
For the most of its running time, however, Regeneration is confined Within the walls of Edinburgh's Craiglockhart Hospital. In a setting as dun-coloured as the khaki uniforms of the patients, stammering psychiatrist Dr Rivers (Jonathan Pryce) tries to nurse the traumatised and shell-shocked back to mental fitness, ready for a return to active duty.
His main challenges are the poet Siegfried Sassoon (James Wilby) -— who is undeniably sane but is sent to Craiglockhart for publicly condemning the continuation of the war - and a mute working-class officer, Billy Prior (Jonny Lee Miller) What follows is an investigation of the ethics of war as Sassoon and Rivers engage in a morality debate and Prior is coaxed out of his silence to reveal the lrontline event that struck him dumb.
It's a sober, mournful work — perhaps, if anything, too sober Mackinnon mostly leaves the fireworks to the actors, all of whom excel, though Miller in particular stands out Once he finds his v0ice, Prior proves an articulate cynic, aIIOWing the actor to paint the screen With a bright smear of anger every time he appears.
The film itself could have done With some of the same indignation to Wipe away the suspicion of worthiness that at times clogs it up However, this remains a creditable addition to the canon of war films and reinforces Mackinnon's claim to be the foremost Scottish director of the moment. (Teddy Jamiesonl 3 Edinburgh Cameo from Fri 2 Jan Glasgow Film Theatre from Fri 9 Jan. See feature -
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War poet: James Wilby in Regeneration
STAR RATINGS * it a a: * Unmissable * it w it Very ood * t it Wort a shot * yr Below average w You’ve been warned
I9 Dec 1997—8 Jan 1998 THE LIST 29