4 sense of nihilism and. against his better judgement. he stays on to help son but family matters and takes a teaching job in the local school. Things. however. start going awry for the chain smoking miserablist when he meets up again with his first love Penny (Miranda Otto) and her large foreheaded daughter Celia (Emily Barclay).
A kind of perverse cross between Eastwood's The Bridges of Madison COL/lily and Steve Jodrell small town Aussie issue drama Shame. In My Father's Den is the kind of slow building Australasian SOCIal drama thriller which Ray Bliss Lawrence virtually wrote the template for with his 2001 film Lantana.
Hampered by its inordinate and unnecessary length and debut feature writer'director Brad McGann's penchant for cheesy flashbacks and constipated dialogue. this really is less than the sum of its considerably interesting parts. But British actor MacFadyen (soon to be seen as Mr Darcy in the big screen ’ version of Pride and Prejudice) is phenomenal. as are all the actors here. and Stuart Bridget Jones' Diary Drysburgh's meaSured. intelligent cinematography is reminiscent of Paul Sarossy's great work in Egoyan's The Sweet Hereafter. lmperfectly stimulating. (Paul Dale)
I Fi/mhouse. Edinburgh and selected release from Fri 24 Jun.
THE UNITED STATES OF LELAND
(15) 108min 000
In suburban Arizona, 15-year-old Leland (Ryan Gosling) has just been charged
with murder. Requing to repent or
explain, she is befriended by teacher and wannabe writer Pearl (Don Cheadle) l in the juvenile hall.
Meanwhile. Leland's cantankerous. famous writer dad Albert (Kevin Spacey). his troubled best friend Becky (Jena Malone) and assoned family members are dealing with their own personal hells in the light of the tragedy.
First time writer/director Matthew Ryan Hoge's multi-layered ensemble drama is both deeply ambitious and a total mess. From its over-talky. pretentious introduction to its hideous exposition- heavy monologues and revoltineg over
48 THE LIST 23 Jun - / Jul 2005)
familiar MTV-style editing and soundtracking, this really deserves to be shoved in the bin along such po-faced tripe as Wicker Park. The Safety of Objects and My Life Without Me. The trouble is that. despite its many flaws. there are too many interesting ideas going on here.
Clearly inspired by the success of American Beauty (the film did not really find funding until Spacey approved the script and offered free acting services in a minor role). but Hoge‘s film is in fact a none too subtle investigation of. among other things. the nihilism and fatalism of youth. the murder of the meek. familial dysfunction. the process of grieving and living in a blame culture. Dominated by the spirit of US cult writer John Fante (Don Cheadle's character even has a
huge poster of the book cover of Fante‘s
West of Rome on his wall and Spacey‘s nasty drunk author is debatably based
on him). The United States of Leland is a
mumbled. awkward attempt to access the kind of free wheeling. pessimistic. naturalistic 'funk' that writers like Celine. Bukowski and Fante spoke of. It's a brave and odd goal. which is greatly supported by superb. beautifully unshowy performances by Cheadle. Spacey. Lena Olin and Martin Donovan in panicular. Younger actors Gosling. Malone and up and coming star Chris Klein are kind of stranded in their
mannered. unnatural characterisations in
comparison but this is far from the worst of this unfulfilled film's problems.
I UGC, Renfrew St. Glasgow from Fri I
Jul and Ster Century, Edinburgh from Fri
75 Jul. MUSIC DOCUMENTARY DIG!
(15) 110min 0000
Thanks to the comic genius of Rob Reiner's 1984 film This is Spinal Tap — which was where the term ‘rockumentary' was first coined — the very notion of music documentaries was rendered an object of flatulent ridicule in the 1990s It inhabited a shady hinterland for much of the decade. toiling quietly and unremarkably until, debatably. Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky hooked up with their unhinged millionaire pals Metallica (who were. handily enough.
going through their own special kind of
internal combustion) and made Some Kind of Monster. It made absolutely compelling viewing — out-Tapping Spinal Tap — and spearheading a revival of the art of the rockumentary. Some Kind of Monster may have been first out the traps but there were scores of filmmakers grafting away at projects on everyone from the Ramones to Neil Young. One such
IN PRAISE OF JAN GUILLOU
Miles Fielder chats to MIKAEL HAFSTROM, the man behind Evil, about his love for Sweden’s Ian Fleming.
The Oscar-nominated Swedish ﬁlm Evil is based on a novel by the country’s most famous and controversial author, Jan Guillou. The film’s co-writer and director Mikael Hafstrdm (pictured) says: ‘In the 705 Guillou discovered this secret Swedish police tied to the Social Democrat party who was putting people with Communist sympathies on secret lists. He wrote an expose of it in a book called IB-Business, and he went to prison for that.’
Guillou served ten months for treason but continued writing his immensely popular series of James Bond-style spy novels (one of which, Vendetta, he has adapted for film) and is now a millionaire. But despite being known as the Swedish Ian Fleming, his most popular book, Ondskan (Evil), is based on his childhood reminiscences of a brutal regime at a boys’ boarding school outside Stockholm in the 19505.
“The book came out 20 years ago and it’s the most read book in Sweden,’ says Héfstrdm. ‘People tried to adapt it before but no-one came up with a script that worked. It’s not very easily transferable into a ﬁlm. There is a lot of inner dialogue. When Guillou read it he was very happy, but we deﬁnitely took it somewhere else. We had to dare to do that.’
Evil’s protagonist, Erik (played by model-turned-actor Andreas Wilson), is a juvenile delinquent who is sent to boarding school, where he witnesses a system that lets boys victimise younger pupils as teachers turn a blind eye.
It’s a handsomely shot but very violent ﬁlm. Héfstrom says he was inspired by American films of the 1950s and sees this as a universal coming of age drama. But beyond that he acknowledges that Evil deals, indirectly, with Sweden’s post-war era. ‘Sweden was not in the war and had a very strong relationship with Germany. Many politicians were friendly to the Nazi regime. That’s a chapter in Swedish history that nobody’s proud of.’
Not least Guillou, who identiﬁed corruption in school with corruption in Swedish politics with Hitler's government. In the late 1960s Guillou, then a journalist, wrote an expose of his old school, resulting in its closure. Today it’s a recreation centre for golfers. The kind of place, no doubt, the Swedish Ian Fleming would patronise.
I Evil is at UGC. Edinburgh from Fri 24 Jun and UGC. Renfrew St. Glasgow from Fri 8 Jul. See review, page 45.
filmmaker is Ondi Timoner. who spent seven long years tracing the varying fortunes of two bands. the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre. for what would turn out to be this film. Fortunately for Timoner. one band went interstellar while the other languished in cultdom, fighting on stage and generally reinforCing so many woes about the perils of ego.
drugs and rock'n'roll.
While overall Dig! is a great film. it does feel a little drawn out in places.
And while it might be sick fun watching Anton. Visionary leader of the BJTM. repeatedly fall apart in public. the effect is lessened through repetition.
Making Dig.’ was clearly a labour of love. Inevitably. given the amount of time Timoner spent With the bands. no one turns out the bad guy. except maybe the corporate heads at Capitol Records. Who we'd like to Wish were bad guys anyway. (Maik Robeitsoni I Carrier), Edinburgh from in l .liil.