Willem Dafoe is on rare form with this intensely atmospheric thriller set in the trackless Tasmanian mountains. But can the rest of the film live up to his performance? An aesthetic masterpiece with a commanding central character, The Hunter is nevertheless a little too diffuse to truly captivate.
Despite the big names on screen and behind the camera, Cosmopolis is the most niche film of 2012; emotionally frigid, wilfully obtuse and very, very talky. But it’s a delicacy, not a feast, and catching it in the right mood could leave you with one of the year’s more rewarding cinema experiences.
You might think that a thriller featuring big names like Robert De Niro, Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy – alongside brand-new hot property Elizabeth Olsen – would at the very least be a slickly filmed, if creatively hollow, venture. Sure, Robert De Niro was in New Year’s Eve and thus has obviously lost his marbles. But Cillian Murphy wouldn’t be in a film that didn’t make sense, would he? You’d think that wouldn’t you? But no. Nope. You won’t find anything plausible here; only a collection of dodgy, derivative, poorly-acted strands mashed together like a jigsaw done by a drunk toddler. And not as fun to watch.
A nicely pitched counterbalance to the often grim visions we’ve come to associate with modern Scandinavian crime stories, Headhunters is less The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and more Coen brothers farce. A blackly comic thriller, it is at times wonderfully dark, but always far from dreary.
Eric Cantona gets top billing in this new French thriller, but it’s lead actress Karine Vanasse who steals the show, out-acting everyone to the point that it gets a bit embarrassing. If you like your movies full of insane plot-twists, shady mothers and lots of running then Switch is probably for you. On the other hand, if you’re a fan of films that essentially make sense you might want to look elsewhere.
OH LOOK, it’s another European action film that’s been needlessly rehashed into a big-budget American dross rocket. Hurrah! Mark Wahlberg plays Smuggler Who No Longer Smuggles; guess what he’s going to do? That’s right! He’s going to punch and grumble his way through two hours of your life, which you will NEVER get back.
A heist movie in which the main character spends 90% of his screentime on a foot-wide ledge? That sounds interesting! And it nearly was. Man on a Ledge contains all the ingredients necessary for a credible thriller, but it falls at the last hurdle – putting them together. Also, Sam Worthington is still useless. Message ends.
In stripping back the Dragon Tattoo story to its bare bones and keeping our attention purely on its central players, David Fincher has created a sleek, sparse and visually arresting adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s opening gambit. Despite being hampered rather than helped by the narrative of their source material, the immensely creative team do an admirable job – underpinned by a stunning performance by star Rooney Mara. The question is – is this story really good enough for them?