DRAMA ANOTHER YEAR (12A) 129min ●●●●●
After the surprisingly upbeat Happy-Go-Lucky, Mike Leigh returns with this contemplative and bittersweet examination of late middle aged life. Split into four parts, each set in a different season, Another Year focuses on a married couple in their early 60s. Geological engineer Tom (Jim Broadbent) and NHS counsellor Jerry (Ruth Sheen) lead a contented existence in suburban North London, working hard on their allotment and entertaining family and friends at their home. One of their regular visitors, Mary (Lesley Manville), a twice-divorced colleague of Jerry’s, appears to be a cheerful, extrovert individual. But her reliance on alcohol masks her loneliness and fearfulness, and she is jealous of the new romantic relationship enjoyed by Tom and Jerry’s adult son Jo (Oliver Maltman). Meanwhile Tom’s old single friend Ken (Peter Wight) is also seeking refuge in booze and is consumed by self-loathing.
With Another Year Leigh is working in a microscopic register, primarily observing his characters in the domestic sphere. It’s a story, which unfolds over cups
of tea, glasses of wine, and chats round the kitchen table and garden barbecue. In conventional terms the major dramatic episode is a winter funeral in Derby for the wife of Tom’s older brother Ronnie (David Bradley), and even here Leigh concentrates on the familial interactions within the withdrawn widower’s cramped house. The cyclical narrative can’t be reduced to a high-concept pitch, yet the film turns out to be ‘about’ so many themes: ageing, the imminence of death, sibling relationships, marriage, parenting, childlessness, friendship, depression, loneliness, the desire for happiness. The ensemble cast, many of whom are regular
collaborators of the director, respond with impressive performances. There are none of the caricatures that occasionally crop up in Leigh’s films, and in particular Manville movingly conveys Mary’s gradual emotional unravelling. Thanks to Dick Pope’s quietly assured cinematography, which expertly captures the passing of time, this feels like Leigh’s most Ozu-esque work to date. As Jerry observes to Mary, in a line that is reminiscent of Tokyo Story, ‘Life isn’t always kind, is it?’ (Tom Dawson) ■ Selected release from Fri 5 Nov.
Jackass (3D) (18) 94min ●●●●● Johnny Knoxville and his daredevil buddies (pictured) get up to more mischief. This time in 3D. General release from Fri 5 Nov. Red & White (12A) 109min ●●●●● Indonesian historical epic about the school of officers who took up arms against Dutch forces to defend their republic. Selected release from Fri 5 Nov. Skyline (15) 90min ●●●●● Horror adventure film in which a group of party hardy friends fight an otherworldly force swallowing the entire human population off the face of the earth. Selected release from Fri 12 Nov. Adrift (15) 103min ●●●●● Sunny 1980s-set drama in which an adolescent girl experiences a sexual awakening at the same time as discovering her father’s many infidelities. Vincent Cassel and Camilla Belle star. Selected release from Wed 17 Nov. Out of the Ashes (PG) 86min ●●●●● Documentary about the rise and rise of the Afghan national cricket team. Filmhouse, Edinburgh, Fri 5–Sun 7 Nov.
THRILLER/DRAMA THE HUNTER (15) 92min ●●●●●
After making a documentary about wild and crazy man of US cinema Abel Ferrara in 2003, Iranian filmmaker Rafi Pitts went on to make the spare and contained drama It’s Winter, a fable-like account of someone who goes off to find work and leaves his wife and child alone. Pitts’ new film The Hunter takes a man with a wife and child as a subject, but this time it’s the wife and daughter that go missing, presumed – and in the daughter’s case, found dead after getting caught up in a demonstration. Driven to despair the father, Ali (played by Pitts), kills a couple of policemen with his long distance hunting rifle and goes on the run. It‘s the form of the storytelling that really interests Pitt. He uses blocks of colour
in the apartment, careful play on reverse shots so that we’re surprised by the layout of spaces (especially in relation to the apartment block), and a narrative that never anticipates itself – always giving us information as the character receives it. It’s a mysterious and puzzling work, capturing in style and substance the confusion of the character upon whom it focuses. (Tony McKibbin) ■ GFT, Glasgow, until Thu 4 Nov; Filmhouse, Edinburgh, Fri 5–Thu 11 Nov. See profile in index.
4–18 Nov 2010 THE LIST 43