It's a guy thing: Matt Molloy and Aaron Eckhart in In The Company Of Men

In The Company Of Men

(18) 97 mins ****

Chad doesn’t like women. He can’t 'trust anything that bleeds for a week and doesn't die'.

A line like that hits you straight in the guts. It comes out of the sun, out of left-field and wham a sucker punch right in the bread basket. That's the power of this picture: the misanthropy of American commerce is right up there on screen, fifty feet high.

Chad (Aaron Eckhart) and his buddy Howard (Matt Molloy) travel to a branch office of their firm for six weeks of business. Both have been dumped by girlfriends and plan revenge on wornankind. They plan to date the

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same vulnerable woman it turns out to be deaf, temp typist Christine (Stacy Edwards) and, when she feels most secure and in love, to can her Without warning. The motive is simple: they want to fuck her up so that whatever boardroom and bedroom failures lie ahead for them, they wrll know that some woman feels worse.

Neil LaBute's debut deals with misogyny, but it’s corporate America’s strongest-WiII-survive ethos which is his real target. Chad may be the biggest cock on the dunghill, but Christina ~ for all her speech problems - is the most emotionally articulate. And that makes her the real winner. (Peter Ross) I Edinburgh Film/rouse from Fri 20 Feb. Glasgow Fi/rn Theatre from Fri 27 Feb.

Telling porkies: Eamonn Owens in fire Butcher Boy

The Butcher Boy

(15) 108 mins *****

Neil Jordan's extraordinary new film succeeds in fusing an oblique, nightmarish view of life in a small rual Irish town during the early 605 with a brutally honest, painfully funny coming-of-age story. What might have been rambling, farCical and wildly erratic in tone has instead melded black humour, bleak pathos and shocking savagery into a hilarious, movmg and disturbing whole.

As in Patrick McCabe’s seemingly unfilmable novel, everything is seen through the eyes of twelve-year-old Francie Brady (Eamonn Owens), the monstrous, red-haired, freckle-faced child of a disappointed, alcoholic father (Stephen Rea) and an abused,

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depressive mother (Aisling O'Sullivan). To blot out the cruel reality of his home life, Francie and his 'blood brorher' Joe take flight into a fantasy world red by comic books, Westerns and alien invasion movies. But a rebellion that starts with childish pranks slowly escalates into a series of increasmgly ferooous psychotic episodes.

Jordan saw this film as 'an reinvent that extraordinary mixture of paranora and paralysis, madness and mysticism that was the Ireland I grew up in in the 505'. Ultimately, it is Owens's fearlessly manic portrayal of France coupled with Rea's flawless delivery of the ironic voiceover, that lifts this bleakly believable fantasy into a near celestial realm. (Nigel Floyd)

I Selected release from Fri 20 Feb. ,

The Edge

(15) 118 mins ‘k

With a screenplay by David Mamet, direction from Lee Tamahori (director of Once Were Warriors) and leading roles played by Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin, it's fair to say that The Edge had a decent start in life. So where did it all go so disastroust wrong?

Hopkins and Baldwm respectively play intellectual billionaire Charles Morse and brash fashion photographer Robert Green. They fly up to the Alaskan Wilderness to do a photoshoot of Hopkins’s beautiful wife, Mickey (Elle Macpherson). Morse and Green take a Side trip and end up stranded miles from f)C‘V/ii(?l’0 in the iziidst of brutal weather

Alec Baldwin in The Edge

conditions. The Situation is already looking less than cosy when Mamet introduces a man—eating grizzly to proceedings. Cue much in the way of cliched Iron John bonding and mountain-man machisrno. An unexpected and unbelievable plot twrst then pitches the two men against one another.

One senses that this is three poor films all rolled into one mediocre movie. The characters are wafer-thin, the narrative ludicrous and the action laughable. Come the ineVitable conclu5ion, it’s difficult not to wish that the bear had won. Nice

scenery though. (Jonathan Trew) I General release from Fri 27 Feb


(18) 89 mins *rrk-i

Can watching footage of real death be anything other than shocking? Yes, answers Kirby Dick’s unforgettable documentary: it can be moving, discomforting, frightening, cathartic and triumphant. Perhaps it’s the complexity of emotional response which adds to the controversy over Sick. That and the bit where the film’s subiect drives a nail through his penis, then pulls it out and

sprays blood on the camera.

If the very thought of such a scene offends you, don’t write Sick off immediately. The film's subtitle The Life And Death Of Bob Flanagan, Superrnasochist - is the first indication of a forthright honesty that Dick brings to

every moment of this remarkable story.

Flanagan, born wrth cystic fibrosis, was not expected to live out his childhood. Before he died - in his 405 he'd built a reputation as a performance artist, whose S&M relationship wrth partner Sheree Rose was the key element in his

creative and personal lives.

Flanagan's acts are extreme the nail, knob, piece of wood menage a trois is only one example but his purpose was not simply savage spectacle: here was one man's means of reclaimrng control over his body, fighting involuntary pain With self-mutilation and humour. Likewise, the film is not sensationalist for its own sake, and when it documents Flanagan’s death, we are moved to tears at the loss of a man of genuine wit and courage. (Alan Morrison)

I Edinburgh Fi/mhouse from Fri 27 Feb.

Prisoner Of The Mountains

(18) 95 mins “(he

Through this simple, moving fable based on a story by Tolstoy, Russian director Sergei Bodrov sheds clear light on a troubled corner of the world: the bitter war between the former Soviet Union and the independence-seeking Chechens, who have kept their one-time masters at bay for several years.

Bodrov’s ethnographic eye lucidly captures the strange, hilly world of the Caucasian Mountain-dwellers: isolated from the modern world, they carry on a traditional lifestyle influenced by their distinctive Central Asian brand of Islam.

Susanna Mekhralieve ln Prisoner Of The Mountains

The woolly caps, picturesque buildings and rugged landscape simply act as a backdrop for an absorbing narrative. it is based around a pair of Russian soldiers captured by a local chieftan, who plans to use them as a lever to get his own son

back from imprisonment on the Russian side.

This is no stOry of brutal confinement. Not only does headman Abdul's twelve- year-old daughter become fast friends with Vania, the younger of the POWs (Sergei Bodrov Jr, the director's son); but his mother, despairing of the military authorities’ ability to rescue her boy, makes her own way to the mountain stronghold to try and effect her own deal. The collision of deep human need and the stark realities of war, which Bodrov never overplays, ensures that his Oscar- nominated movre retains a considerable power. (Andrew Pulver)

I Glasgow: Gilmorehi/l, Sat27 Feb, Fri 27 Feb—Sun 1 Mar; GF7,‘ Mon 23—Thu 26

Feb. Edinburgh: Fi/mhouse from Fri 6 Mar.

20 Feb—S Mar 1998 THE LIST 29