list.co.uk/ﬁ lm REVIEWS | FILM
CRIME DRAMA SHOPLIFTERS (TBC) 121min ●●●●●
HORROR MUSICAL ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE (TBC) 92min ●●●●● DRAMA WILDLIFE (12A) 105min ●●●●●
How do people whom society has deemed insignificant forge a sense of their own value? That’s the central concern of this latest work by the Japanese master Hirokazu Kore-eda, already one of the most acclaimed of his busy and feted career. This Cannes Palme d’Or winner isn’t rarefied or smug: not only is it warmly accessible thanks to the pulsing humanity of its performances, but its story goes far beyond tender-hearted social realism into darker and more morally challenging territory.
We join Osamu (Lily Franky) as he and pre-teen
Shota (Jyo Kairi) go on one of the shoplifting jaunts that keep their household going. The motley crew with whom they share their dilapidated digs expands by one when Osamu and Shota meet a little girl they judge will be better off with them. Their group may be low on material resources, but is rich in warmth and resilience – at least until things take a trickier turn. The film's gorgeous aesthetics can be discomfiting: as the content becomes more testing, it can feel odd to be basking in painterly, perfectly lit compositions. But it’s a film about love, in the end; and the loving attention to visual detail is of a piece with the steadfast attention to intricacies of character and feeling. (Hannah McGill) ■ Limited release from Fri 23 Nov.
Like Glee spliced with Shaun of the Dead, this zom- com musical sees the deceased rise up from their resting places to pulverise Christmas. John McPhail’s sophomore feature might have been shot in Scotland but the array of accents render the location less than distinct. Thankfully what it lacks in local colour it makes up for tenfold in commercial appeal. Motherless teen Anna (Ella Hunt) and her lovesick bestie John (Malcolm Cumming) are on the cusp of graduating secondary school when they find themselves in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. In the context of all the carnage, the songs from Roddy Hart (The Lonesome Fire) and Tommy Reilly are surprisingly effervescent – perky pop and power ballads which are performed with gusto by the fine young cast, while comedian Paul Kaye goes full pantomime villain in a wonderfully hissable performance. The need to keep things up-tempo can undermine the tension and it’s better at being irreverent than earnest. But, if horror and musical fanatics aren’t natural bedfellows, this deserves to find its audience. Boasting a self-aware streak a mile wide, it’s a sure-fire Christmas crowd-pleaser that comes splattered with blood and sprinkled in glitter. (Emma Simmonds) ■ General release from Fri 30 Nov.
Actor Paul Dano delivers an impressive directorial debut with this adaptation of Richard Ford’s novel. Co-written with his partner Zoe Kazan, Wildlife is a haunting, elegantly handled portrait of American family life in an era where gender inequality had major sway on income and decision-making. Set in Great Falls, Montana in 1960, 14-year-old Joe (Ed Oxenbould) watches his parent’s marriage disintegrate when they encounter money troubles, coming of age amid the realisation that they are flawed human beings. His father Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) loses his job at a golf club for being too chummy with the clients and his pride stops him from taking it back after they admit they’ve made a mistake. When he runs away to fight a wildfire, Joe’s mother Jeanette (Carey Mulligan) goes into a tailspin.
Dano guides all his actors to great performances but Mulligan turns in what may be her best to date, playing a woman on the edge. Her transformation from wholesome housewife to desperate drunk is fiery and mesmerising. Rather than absorbing itself in Jerry’s brooding masculinity, Dano shifts the film’s gaze to a woman striving for independence, and what that means to her teenage son. (Katherine McLaughlin) ■ General release from Fri 9 Nov.
HORROR SUSPIRIA (TBC) 152min ●●●●●
Luca Guadagnino’s remake of Dario Argento’s horror landmark Suspiria continually acknowledges its predecessor (original star Jessica Harper appears), but looks to the cinema of Rainer Werner Fassbinder for aesthetic and political inspiration. The Tanz Dance Academy has moved from Freiburg to a divided Berlin in 1977, where power struggles between the generations form the basis for a brutal waltz through a history of organised violence and guilt.
The hugely ambitious Susie Bannion (Dakota Johnson) has made her way to the school from Ohio to audition for Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton), who immediately sees her potential. Yet, just like in the original, there is significant discord inside the oppressive walls of this establishment. A rebellious student, Patricia (Chloë Grace Moretz), has fled in fear of what she believes are a coven of witches.
Susie differs greatly from the first film, with a poised Johnson displaying the prowess and confidence of a character who is titillated and drawn to power and the macabre, and who challenges tradition. Guadagnino (Call Me by Your Name, I Am Love) and writer David Kajganich play with the mythology of The Three Mothers, using feminist imagery, expressive dance and real historical events to present a richly provocative piece of modern art.
Thom Yorke’s score is melancholic and pared back compared to Goblin’s lurid prog rock, yet it retains the sighs and screams to complement the bone-crunching, explosive intensity of the visual carnage that occasionally punctures the grubby, beige backdrop. Some of the horrific scenes superbly recall Andrzej Zulawski’s work, but others don’t quite match that menace, instead evoking Rob Zombie’s brand of hellish design. (Katherine McLaughlin) ■ General release from Fri 16 Nov.
1 Nov 2018–31 Jan 2019 THE LIST 93 1 Nov 2018–31 Jan 2019 THE LIST 93