RESISTANCE DRAMA STRANGE GARDENS (15) 97min .0. The likes of Jean-Pierre Melville (Army in the Shadows), Marcel Ophuls (The Sorrow and the Pity) and Louis Malle (Lacombe Lucien) have all made complex, troubling films about the experiences of the French people during the years of the German occupation between 1940 and 1944. Adapting Michel Quint’s best seller, veteran director Jean Becker (son of legendary Touchez Pas au Grisbi director Jacques, Jean is best known for his excellent 1983 film One Deadly Summer, 3 bucolic bloodbath of a movie), revisits this traumatic era, only to present us with an old-fashioned, sentimental tale of courage and sacrifice.
The bumbling, provincial protagonists are two middle-aged friends, Jacques (Jacques Villeret) and Andre (Andre Dussollier), both of whom are in love with local bartender Louise (Isabelle Candelier). Inspired by a Free French radio broadcast to strike against the occupying army, and keen to impress Louise with their heroics, Jacques and Andre carry out an act of sabotage. Arrested and placed under armed guard with two other hostages, Emile and Thierry (Benoit Magimel and Thierry Lhermitte), in a quarry-pit, they all face execution . . . unless somebody in the community confesses to the bombing.
Strange Gardens begins in a brightly coloured 19605, with Jacques’ son mortally embarrassed by his father’s clown act at a village festival. It’s up to Andre to explain to the youngster, in an extended flashback, how a German entertainer had saved his and Jacques’ life during the war. While the film shows how acts of resistance may have been carried out by naive amateurs, the screenplay ducks out of any real moral dilemma,
Colloquial heartfelt revisionism
tale to really have a lot of relevance here, Strange Gardens certainly has its moments. Ultimately though, it’s a decently acted affair that, in striving to charm, glosses over more awkward questions to deliver its tidin benign version of past bravery. (Tom Dawson)
I Selected release from Fri 7 6 Apr.
through the convenient device of an elderly, terminally ill character ‘owning up’ to the attack. Working alongside Jean Cosmos, the excellent screenwriter behind the equally revisionist Laissez Passer and Le Busso, Becker seems both to be paying tribute to, and questioning the deeds of, his father’s generation. Too colloquial a
I FBI THRILLEFI TAKING LIVES (15) 102min O.
Illeana Scott (Angelina Jolie). a gifted FBI profiler. is summoned to help out Canadian law enforcement to hunt down a serial killer who assumes the lives and identities (hence the title) of the people he kills as he travels across North America.
Jolie's character is modelled on Clarice Starling from the Hannibal trilogy and it‘s almost superfluous to say that she is no Jodie Foster. but to her credit she is a darn sight more convincing as a FBI agent than Julianne Moore. FOr a change Jolie must forgo the award for acting like a blow-up rubber doll to Ethan Hawke. pOrtraying an art dealer who witnesses a murder by the serial killer.
Taking Lives nicks characters from other flicks without any shame. Surprise. surprise. the film's nutcase has a mother complex the size of Norman Bates' and there is a murder scene straight out of Se7en. The wonderful Gena Bowlands is wasted as the suspect's mother but just who did the deed? A rogue cop. the art dealer himself or the mysterious Kiefer Sutherland? It won't take you long to
It will make you Judder
WITSL'EI'SESDTHWLLER SYDODSIS SOUndS like a generic guess. by which time you won't care either. (Kaleem Aftab) (15) 95min . COD thriller, that still won't I Selected release from Fri 23 Apr.
prepare you for the suffocating boredom of watching these implausible. yet totally familiar, events played out in the most cliched way imaginable. From the inevitable grisly autopsies to the tedious waterfront showdown. you'll have seen everything here before. but probably with a more effective star performance to hold it together. Judd simply smiles like a cartoon giraffe while Jackson and Garcia phone in their excuses. By the time Judd starts snapping pencils to illustrate her suppressed rage. you'll be ready to snap too. In short. if you're thinking about going to see this. don’t. It's that simple. No twist. (Stuart Gray) I Selected release from Fri 76 Apr.
In which Ashley Judd plays Jessica Shepard. a perky, attractive San Francisco cop. just turned inspector. with a penchant for intuitive detective work and a weakness for brutal sex with passing strangers. But when the police start fishing the bodies of her past lovers out of the sea. Judd realises that she's rapidly becoming the number one suspect in her own investigation. And could her mysterious blackouts have anything to do with it? Or do mysterious mentor Samuel L Jackson or shifty colleague Andy Garcia have something to hide?
Anyone who gives a toss by the end of Twisted should be given a medal. If the above
Mother complexes and cliches
113—29 Apr 200-1 THE LIST’ 33