THRILLER NINE QUEENS (cert tbc) 115mm 000.
Two small-time swindlers meet seemingly by chance in a Buenos Aires convenience store and agree to team up for the day, with the more experienced Marcos (Ricardo Darin) offering to teach his younger partner (Gaston Pauls) the tricks of their trade. And then an opportunity to pull a major-league scam lands on their laps, as an expert forger contacts Marcos about a set of rare stamps from Weimar Germany, the so-called Nine Queens of the title. A prospective buyer, Gandolfo (lgnasi Abadal), is being extradited to Venezuela, and in his rush to complete a deal, he may not detect a set of forgeries . . .
A huge hit in its native Argentina, Fabian Bielinsky’s fast-moving Nine Queens is both an engrossing con- artist yarn and a sly commentary on
SLACKER DRAMA TAPE (15) 86min 0..
Set entirely in a motel room and played out in real time. the theatrical roots of Tape. adapted from a Stephen Belber play. are accentuated by director Richard Linklater who opts to film in the style of the great German auteur Rainer Werner Fassbinder (The Tears of Petra Von Kant. in particular).
A reunion of high school friends Vince (Ethan Hawke) and Johnny (Robert Leonard) turns scur when Vince accuses Johnny of raping his
Engrossing con-artist yarn
a society currently in economic free-fall. Inventiver plotted, it’s bolstered by the quicksilver performances of Darin and Pauls, and a succession of nimble cameos, while the real-life locations in the Argentinean capital furnish the drama with a sense of authenticity and immediacy. (Tom Dawson)
I Cameo. Edinburgh from Fri 12 Jul. See prevrew. page 37.
Quirky but overly theatrical
childhood sweetheart. Vince's motives are not to right a wrong but to establish power over Johnny. who left school to become a film director while Vince stayed in town to become a voluntary firefighter and small-time drug
The dialogue spices up when the girl in question. Amy (Uma Thurmani. turns up and destroys the picture of a rape that the guys have built up. Each version of that night's events justifies the protagonists persona: standpoint. so
it's difficult to know who to believe.
It's filmed in a voyeuristic fashion. albeit one that is slickly constructed and played for laughs. The humour gives Tape a quirky edge. but the film falls flat whenever the dialogue drifts to allow for a theatrical set piece or Joke rather than to further investigate the central dilemma. (Kaleem Aftabi I Filmhouse. Edinburgh from Fri 72 Jul. See prevrew. page 36.
COMEDY THRILLER NOVOCAINE (15) 95min 0
Steve Martin contributed a brilliant cameo as a sadistic dentist in the 1986 film Little Shop of Horrors. Here he prowdes a substantially less amusing take on the same profeSSion in David Atkins' pallid black comedy thriller. which follows an amiable dental practitioner as he is drawn into one of those tangled webs of deceit and murder.
As funny as pulling teeth
The instigator of his downfall is Helena Bonham Carter's sultry stranger. who comes into Martin's practice and makes off with a Qtlallilly of prescription drugs. SUCCumbing to her attractions. despite a picture perfect fiancee (Laura Derni. Martin ends up on the wrong Side of the law while l(-}(Z()l‘.’lllg unwelcome attention
from his no-good brother (Elias Koteasi.
The film's main problem is its tone. being neither comic nor thrilling enough. Also. Martin misiudges his performance to the extent that dialogue that sounds like a punchline turns Out to be nothing of the sort. while his moments of edgy drama fall flat. And the sex scene is Just plain embarrassing. In fact. the funniest moment features an unbilled cameo from KeVIn Bacon. an actor who definiter knows the difference between pulling a tooth and pulling a leg. (Simon Vllardelli
I Selected release from Fri 5 Jul.
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“4 THE LIST 39