Posts Tagged ‘Michael Fassbender’

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Macbeth (Justin Kurzel, 2015)

November 10, 2015

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Like its eponymous character, Justin Kurzel’s adaptation of Macbeth is a film pulled in myriad directions for a sense of purpose. It is faithful to Shakespeare’s text in many ways, including period setting, but the film also cuts iconic moments (no “something wicked this way comes”) and reframes many a key scene with notably different staging. Macbeth keeps Shakespeare’s dialogue, but the stars will often deliver the lines at considerably more guttural and mumbling pitches than you’re likely to find on stage.

Kurzel’s film veers from being upfront and unapologetic about its protagonist’s gory rise to power in some sequences (something carried over from the director’s debut, Snowtown), but then dilutes other moments of violence with editorial embellishments that pull back from the horror. The combat sequences range from thrashing Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones-esque melee to slo-mo sword-swinging somewhat akin to 300 (which Macbeth star Michael Fassbender was actually in), thankfully minus the part where it looks like a computer vomited up bronzer…

Click for the full review for Vague Visages

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Frank (Lenny Abrahamson, 2014)

August 15, 2014

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The look of Frank’s title character is based on English musician and comedian Chris Sievey’s guise Frank Sidebottom, very much a cult figure in the UK during the 1980s and 90s but virtually unknown outside of the island. (International audiences may recently have got a glimpse of the late Sievey’s material as Sidebottom in one memorable sequence of Filth.) Lenny Abrahamson’s film, however, is not the story of Frank Sidebottom, with co-writer Jon Ronson instead taking inspiration from his own time as a keyboardist for Sievey in order to explore fictional territory…

Click for the full review for Sound On Sight

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Prometheus (Ridley Scott, 2012)

June 3, 2012

Originally written for Reel Time, now at Sound on Sight

This review contains no explicit narrative spoilers.

Prometheus is a hugely disappointing film on several levels. The first is in regards to its director Ridley Scott, never the most consistent filmmaker but one with an especially underwhelming track record since 2003’s pleasant Matchstick Men. Scott’s two legitimately stellar works, Alien and Blade Runner, were both science fiction efforts and his return to the genre after a 30 year break is not even half as successful as either of those films. The second source of disappointment is in regards to Prometheus as a prequel to Alien, being that, among its many expansions of that fictional universe, one narrative reveal towards its end effectively undoes one of the central appealing conceits of Scott’s original film: that theme of the Darwinian brand of survival of the fittest, revised in Prometheus by having knowing but elusive engineering bearing a primary influence. The third source of disappointment, and the most crucial, is that the film, regardless of its relation to its director’s filmography and an established fictional universe, is a wholly unsatisfying work in its own right. Read the rest of this entry ?

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A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg, 2011)

February 11, 2012

A Dangerous Method sees something of a diversion from David Cronenberg’s typical brand of filmmaking, his common theme of corruption of the body and mind moving aside for an emphasis on dissection of the latter. A look at the birth of psychoanalysis in the early 1900s and the relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, the only semblance of the director’s body horror motif comes through Keira Knightley’s facial contortions as Sabina Spielrein, an initial sufferer of what was then known as hysteria. The features of the actress’ physical acting in her early scenes allow for some visual resemblance to the type of facial manipulation in other Cronenberg films, just without the assistance of prosthetic effects enhancement.

A film dominated by conversation and the exchanging of ideas, the strongest moments are usually related to scenes of Michael Fassbender’s Jung and Viggo Mortensen’s Freud meeting face-to-face; their relationship becomes increasingly estranged and hostile, and harbours A Dangerous Method’s few flirtations with a comedic streak. Further highlights also arise from some stunning visual compositions in exterior scenes, and some intriguingly uncomfortable, off-centre framing during its one-on-one scenes of confrontation and discussion. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Shame (Steve McQueen, 2011)

January 30, 2012

Like his 2008 debut feature Hunger, Steve McQueen’s Shame is a film that is alternately intimate and distant; revealing but also reliant on what is hidden. Much of the acting choices made by stars Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, combined with the elusive screenplay of McQueen and Abi Morgan, allude to various possibilities regarding factors in the past of the characters that have perhaps influenced their damaged states in the present, but the film avoids outright confirmation so as to not make things concrete. Moments of potential sexual abuse or incest in the protagonists’ pasts are certainly possibilities made open for valid interpretation in the film, but to clearly state that single acts like abuse are the defining factor in the development of Fassbender’s Brandon’s sexually rooted compulsions and addictions – and Mulligan’s flaky, self-sabotaging Sissy – is to do a disservice to the complexities of human development.

In the case of Brandon, his damaging compulsions do not inhibit him from successfully progressing in the world. Practically the contemporary embodiment of a ‘yuppie’, his success in adjustment and control over his material life actually allows for his addictions to manifest in more elaborate ways, displaying what is arguably a more unique depiction in the canon of addiction-based films. His life is rooted in routine and regime, his bodily urges receiving habitual explorations in a way that keep them at a relatively safe distance from the more public aspects of his life. His emotions completely internalised, and a desire for meaningful connections virtually null, a convergence of events shattering to his world suddenly cause an interruption to his state of routine that allow his impulses to begin seeping into his life in a more prominent fashion: the confiscation of his porn filled work computer due to detection of a virus, and the unwelcome, surprising arrival of sister Sissy as houseguest for an unforeseeable amount of time. Read the rest of this entry ?