We're nearing the close of the 56th BFI London Film Festival, which means we can actually get a good night's sleep soon enough. Alas, it also means a significant decrease in cinematic enjoyment. The three films in this digest include a couple of our favourites from the LFF as a whole. Read on for mini-reviews for Jacques Audiard's follow up to 'A Prophet', 'Rust And Bone'; desolate Scottish drama 'Shell'; and Martin McDonagh's 'Seven Psychopaths'.
'Rust & Bone' (UK Release: 2 Nov '12)
French auteur Jacques Audiard's highly-anticipated follow up to Oscar-nominated 'A Prophet' certainly doesn't disappoint. Audiard explained in the post-screening Q&A that he wanted to make a love story, in response to the gritty, claustrophobic intensity of 'A Prophet', but 'Rust & Bone' still contains moments of shocking brutality and packs a bruising emotional punch.
Ali (played with stunning stubtlety by Matthias Schoenaerts) is a low-skilled amateur boxer forced to move to the south of France, with his young son, to live with his sister. He meets orca-whale trainer Stéphanie (a brilliant Marion Cotillard) at the club where he works, but the slow dawning of their romance begins only after she suffers a horrific accident and he, almost unknowingly, helps her put her life back together. Their journey feels very truthful and 'Rust & Bone' stays with you long after you have left the cinema.
'Seven Psychopaths' (19th, 18.00 + 20th, 12.30 + 21st, 21.00)
We've been immensely looking forward to the return of Martin McDonagh, the famed playwright, perhaps best known for his 2008 feature film, 'In Bruges'. His latest feature arguably trumps his debut.
Colin Farrell is a struggling screenwriter who unintentionally finds himself in the deep end of the LA underworld after his best buddy (Sam Rockwell) steals the dog of a crime boss. Anarchic, self-referential, and frequently laugh-out-loud funny, 'Seven Psychopaths only lets itself down in its dubious use of homophobic language.
'Shell' (LFF Screening: 19th, 18.30)
Originally scheduled to debut at the Edinburgh Film Festival earlier this year, 'Shell' was withdrawn simply because it wasn't eligible for an award that it may not have been nominated for anyway. Edinburgh's loss is London's gain, although perhaps the people behind 'Shell' have a slightly overinflated sense of their film's worth.
An isolated drama set in the Scottish highlands, 'Shell' is the first feature from writer-director Scott Graham. Joseph Mawle and Chloe Pirrie are father and daughter - bound by an intimate, emotional relationship. The setting is quite magnificent, reminiscent of the fellow LFF film 'Sister', and the lead performances are terrific. However, the end result feels somewhat hollow.
For more info on these 56th BFI London Film Festival screenings, and to purchase tickets, head to bfi.org.uk/lff.