Perrier’s Bounty (Ian FitzGibbon, Ireland/UK)
Ian FitzGibbon’s new film joins Cillian Murphy, Jim Broadbent, and Brendan Gleeson together in one hell of an adventure. Think In Bruges, but a little more whacky and you have this purely adrenaline-filled action trip. Cillian Murphy plays a down and out North Dubliner who has a bit of a debt. The film takes us on his quest to get this money along with characters he meets along the way. The story goes to most of the familiar places, but the twisted tone is what elevates it to the next level. There are moments of pure hilarity, followed by sudden tragic occurrences, hearkening back to Gleeson’s aforementioned film. Bounty has much more of a playful tone and that is good thing. Jim Broadbent plays Cillian’s detached father. Their skewed relationship brings many laughs and a couple of surprises as they run into drugs, murder and many bad guys. Gleeson, whose onscreen time is just short of a cameo, gives the villain character a new twist with his matter-of-fact delivery and heartfelt moments with the gang.
I’ll save the best for last. Cillian Murphy can do no wrong. He plays the desperate lead to perfection. It may be his accent, his good looks, or generally cool demeanor that make his character infinitely watchable, but everything adds up just right, giving us one of the best performances of the festival. FitzGibbon opens the door into urban Dublin with beauty. The movie can get a bit silly at times and it doesn’t quite break the genre in any new ways, but those are only minor slights in an overall fun film. This dark, twisted, hilarious tale unfortunately has only European distribution at the moment, but if it comes near you, don’t miss it.
8 out of 10
Daybreakers (Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig, Australian, USA)
After the messy opening that was Jennifer’s Body, midnight madness has delivered it’s promise on the second night. Daybreakers is a wild ride, filled to the brim with blood, gore, laughs, and scares. The thing that surprised me most was the number of great ideas it presented and the way they were handled. It’s 2019 and humans have been overcome in a world filled with vampires. The few that remain are constantly being hunted and farmed for blood. Ethan Hawke plays the chief hematologist, in charge of the methods in which humans are farmed. He struggles with being a vampire and is on a quest to find a solution to the problem at hand. The ideas in the film and the way they are carried is most impressive. Without giving much away, when they finally do find that solution, it is not just some random chemical balance that is injected, like most “cures” in other genre films. There is an actual method that is plainly shown and understood, creating an interesting aspect that gives the ending a tremendous punch. Ideas like this are what makes Daybreakers so inventive.
Getting away from the high concept ideas and coming down to what matters most to viewers of a film like this is the blood. Thanks to WETA and some genuinely terrifying creature designs the gore delivers beyond expectations. Instead of the gore leading up to a natural conclusion, like the previous disappointing midnight madness flick, there are many surprises. Things explode, heads fall off, blood pours, and you shit your pants. The performances by fine actors such as Sam Neil, Willem Dafoe, and Hawke certainly aren’t the high points of their careers, but they do the film justice and are fun to watch. When the film got pushed from a fall release to the dump that is January I got a bit worried, but everything has been redeemed.
7 out of 10
Trash Humpers (Harmony Korine, USA/UK)
This isn’t going to a normal review of sorts. In fact, I’m not sure how I would go about reviewing a film like this, as it breaks the very definition in half. Korine has been known to surprise audiences before, but nothing like this. The “plot” of the film surrounds 3 older people, who look like burn victims, as they terrorize a town, hump trash, kill people, force feed soapy pancakes, and slap hooker ass. According to director Harmony Korine the film is meant to be a found object; a VHS tape (and yes this is the farthest away from IMAX cinematic film quality could be). The only titles are made in-camera (or appear to be) and we see all the beautiful fuzz and auto-tracking we have grown to forgotten. Korine certainly created a very specific feel and tone that I’ve never seen before and I give him compliments for that. Damn near 100% of general audiences would think this is complete trash, but Korine didn’t make a film for them. In the same way I would recommend Antichrist, I recommend Trash Humpers. It’s something special, a unique gem that raises many questions and no matter how many times this phrase is overused, it finally has the perfect companion. It truly is something you have never seen before.
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