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Boiler Room (18) 119 mins * at it
The twentysomething finanCial brokers in this promising but uneven first feature worship 80s' icon Gordon Gekko, materialist anti-hero of Wall Street. But it’s the late 90s and they work at J. T, Marlin, a fly-by-night brokerage far removed from New York's financial district. Even here, life copies art: hard-ass chief broker Ben Affleck’s speech to new trainees is modelled on Alec Baldwin’s pep talk to the salesmen in Glengarry Glen Ross The brokers’ speech rhythms also echo playwright Davrd Mamet’s manic vernacular as they cold-call gullible saps and pressure-sell dodgy stocks. Into this shady world steps Giovanni Ribisi, a sensitive college drop-out who -— in the vain hope of wrnning his judge father’s approval -» closes down the
A keen ear for hard-boiled dialogue immerses us in this corrupt, adrenalised world
illegal casino he ran from his own apartment and opts for something more honest. Or so he thinks. What he finds out about J. T. Marlin undermines his hastily re-built self esteem, forcing him to choose between financial gain and moral redemption. Even his burgeoning romance with the company's token female employee, Nia Long, is tainted by his discoveries. Writer/director Ben Younger’s keen ear for hard-boiled dialogue, reinforced by the kinetic camerawork and a pounding rap score, immerses us in this corrupt, adrenalised world. Sadly, the script is top heavy, the moral weightiness of its themes seldom supported by its shaky narrative. Even so, this definitely marks Younger out as a young filmmaker to watch. (Nigel Floyd) I General release from Fri 5 May.
Old fashioned film making with Ealingesque eccentric humour
House! (15) 89 mins * t it *
In the 1957 Peter Sellers comedy, The Smallest Show on Earth, the staff of an old fleapit Cinema battle with impending bankruptcy when a modern picture palace opens around the corner. In House!, children’s television director Julian Kemp's feature debut, the staff of a crumbling bingo hall in Wales fight the same battle when a bingo megaplex opens a mile down the valley.
Bearing in mind bingo halls were the death knell of many cinemas during the 70s, Kemp and his screenwriter Jason Sutton have got a bloody cheek to give the earlier film’s plot this spin. They’ve even named their ailing bingo hall, La Scala (appropriately, a cinema in a previous incarnation), after the
famous, now defunct London arthouse, The Scala.
Except Kemp and Sutton’s film is a very assured debut. At the heart of it is the rebellion of a small community against encroaching modern business practices, which conflict embodied many a classic Ealing comedy (and those of British Lion, the company that produced The Smallest Show on Earth). Also present and accounted for is Ealingesque eccentric humour, here the casting of veteran character actor Freddie Jones as La Scala's benign owner is inspired. Kelly Macdonald and Jason Hughes engage as the romantic interest, and there’s a hilarious cameo from Keith ’Cheggers’ Chegwin. House! is old-fashioned filmmaking, a fine paean to the smallest show on earth. (Miles Fielder)
I General release from Fri 5 May
new releases FILM
(18) 97 mins * a: * it
Nicolas Winding Refn’s new journey to the heart of Shitsville, Copenhagen is every bit as sordid, crushing and mesmerising as his debut, Pusher. Bleeder shows the collapse of Louise and Leo's relationship in the face of unwanted pregnancy, suffocating sibling racism and Leo’s burgeoning Travis Bickle-style obsession with guns. Meanwhile, a tender subplot that tells the story of a timid video store clerk and his fragile attempts to live outside the movie obsessive world he has built around himself.
Refn is obviously a director who likes to wear his influences on his sleeve; Pusher definitely used Scorsese’s Mean Streets as a touchstone and the brilliant opening sequence here is the life-affirming mother of all hornages. Bleeder looks and feels like it has been put through a blender; the lighting is limited, the camerawork is less frenetic than Refn’s first film, but always seems dislocated from the action. The thrash metal soundtrack has been dubbed in at 'one higher' (yup, it goes up to eleven) so you constantly think either you’ve developed tinnitus or the projectionist is having a laugh. With superb naturalistic acting from Refn regulars Kim Bodnia, Mads Mikkelsen and Rikke Louise Anderson and a mean visceral script that scorches the ear, this is the cinema of alienation par excellence.
(Paul Dale) I Edinburgh: Fi/mhouse from Fri 28 Apr.
Sunshine (15) 179 mins ‘k t
This great big pan of goulash of a rnovre is the new film from former European cinema darling lstvan Szabo (Mephisto, Colonel Redl) Focusing on lives defined and broken by history and politics, Sunshine tells the stories of three generations of Hungarian Jews in this century.
It would be easy to dismiss this as some sort of Europudding, which it certainly has elements of, but on the whole it is highly watchable and eschews easy sentiment [be trouble is that it's just not very good and the problem lies in the script by Israel llorowrtz (Author! Author!) and Szabo, which manages to be predictable, (luinsy, drawn out and ultimately manipulative.
A modern audience does not need themes of bigotry, family and patriotism so obviously and chronologically underlined. Unusually for S/abo, he wants us to know exactly what he's getting at and refuses to let up the vrsual or verbal hammer.
Meanwhile, Ralph Fiennes who plays the three iiiale leads across the generations seems to be on some Rl(]Si)y/L(-P()lidld Rossiter vrbe and barns every scene up a treat. Luckily, the support is strong frorri Rosemary l-lai‘r'is, Jennifer Ehle and William Hurt who save the film from tipping into a sort of Heinrat parody. Entertaining rubbish. (Paul Dale)
I Edinburgh: Fi/mhouse from Fri 28 Apr.
(18) 96 mins
The tidal wave of low budget British crime thrillers continues unabated, and this week's rollercoaster ride wrth guns and stuff is Circus. Set in sunny Brighton, the film stars current hot potato John Hannah as Leo, a two bit conrnan masterminding the ultimate scam.
Spinning around this main thread is a dizzying array of chancers and losers, played by what could be the strangest cast ever assembled on cellulord. Leo’s wrfe and co-conspirator, Lily, is played by Famke Janssen, last seen swapping double entendres With James Bond in GoldenEye. Elsewhere, Eddie lzzard pops up as a sadistic loan shark, Amanda Donohoe appears as a tart With a heart of gold, and Brian Conley (yes, that Brian Conley) plays a fitness freak gang boss If all that wasn't enough, Christopher Biggins makes an on screen appearance, heaven help us.
Playing alongside the British, ahem, talents, are Alll(.‘ll((lll actor‘s Tiny lister (Jackie Brown) and Peter Stormare (Fargo). The plot twists and turns in a typically Tararrtino-esgue manner, and there’s no doubt that, With Circus, director Rob Walker and writer David Logan are trying to create something With a bit more attitude than yOur average Britflick. (Doug Johiistone)
I Selected release from Fri 5 May
Sordid. crushing and mesmerising
Highly watchable rubbish
Geezers with guns and stuff
27 Apr ll May 2000 THE LIST 25