Spanish filmmakers are cornering the market in intriguing, ingenious thrillers. Following on from the chronology-warping comic thriller Timecri'mes (released on DVD only in Scotland) this murderous mathematical mystery arrives to confound and defight

The set up has four maths geniuses summoned to a remote location by a mysterious puzzle master who’s named himself after the 17th century French number theorist Pierre de Ferrnat and who promises to challenge his guests with a great enigma. Gathered in a sumptuous lounge replete with food and wine, a library and a blackboard, but somewhat anomalously constructed within an old farm building, however, the four strangers discover to their horror they have been locked inside a death trap. As the four walls of the hermetically-sealed and pneumatically powered room close in on them, the captives must wrack their well-

54 THE LIS'I’ 28 May-11 Jun 2009

primed brains and think their way of out of the box.

Expounding on a very peculiar genre of cerebral thrillers that can be traced back to Vincenzo Natali’s 1997 puzzle book mystery Cube (and his 2002 thriller Cypher) and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s enigmatic 2001 drama Intacfo, co-writer/directors Luis Piedrahita and Rodrigo Soper'ia’s debut is imaginatively conceived and smartly executed. In the opening scenes, each of the characters is introduced along with a tantalising tidbit of information about the unseen Fermat. Once trapped, their efforts to think inside the box are hampered by a series of fiendishly difficult conundrums set by Fermat. Attempting to solve the enigma ahead of the characters makes for enormously enjoyable viewing, though actually doing so is far a from easy task. By accessing a mood and period of Spanish academia and intellectualism that is both archaic and appealing, northern Spaniards Piedrahita and Sopefia have created a film that resonates with (Umberto) Eco-ish guile and considerable charm. Recommended. (Miles Fielder) I Selected release from Fri 29 May.


husband of Sharon (Knowles).

while she does the nasty.

I General release from Fri 29 May.



(U) 75min 0

New Jersey '5 most popular rockers get the 3D concert treatment No. sadly this isn't The Boss and his F Street Band in all their blue collar glpry. but DiSney Cliallll(?|-defl\t‘ti band the Jonas Brothers - a power pop threesome who make the Partridge Family and the Osmonds (GOOgIe them, kids) look like petrol bomb-Wielding anarchists Directed in Bruce Hendricks who made that modern Cinema verite masterpiece Hannah Morita/iaMr/ei Cyrus. Best or Both Worlds Concert ~ the film blends excerpts from the Brothers' Burning Up concert tow and includes guest performances from Demi Lovato and Taylor SWIft and behind~the scenes footage.

For the uninitiated. the Jonas Brothers are a “tween“ sensation Ill the US and critICIs‘ing them and "HS anaemic dOCumentary is something akin to shooting the most stationary fish in the barrel. The fact is that they and this film are of no importance or interest to anyone beyond their prepubescent fans even the Ill) hits; are dull. Parents, don't waste your money. Your children won't thank you for it when they grow up and away from the influence of their corporate overlords. (Saul Levr)

I General release from Fri 29 May.

Beyoncé Knowles may have star billing in this Fatal Attraction upgrade, but it's not her who goes ‘Crazy in Love' in Obsessed. Steve Shill's glossy but vacuous drama features Final Destination star Ali Larter unleashing her inner bunny bOiIer alter ego as Lisa. She is a delusional temp who takes an unwarranted fancy to hedge-fund manager Derek (Idris Elba), the office flirt and potentially errant

‘That girl is no temp, she's a temptress.‘ someone in Derek's office accwately observes. and soon Lisa is working her way through the modern seduction handbook, including the casual use of a date rape drug to immobilise poor Derek

Knowles Sits out most of Obsessed's languid opening hour, safe in the knowledge that she and Larter will soon be expressing their primal rivalry in a no- holds-barred Russ Meyer-style catfight. That Derek never consciOust cheats on his wife is a measure of the hidden shallows of David Lowry's one-note script. focused solely on portraying a single woman as a hate figure. yet somehow expressing Sharon's nihilism by picturing her enjoying Estelle's tuneful ‘American Boy‘. Offering a pop somdtrack in lieu of psychological complexity. Obsessed is as slick, sick and empty as mainstream cinema gets. (Eddie Harrison)