RETROSPECTIVE: Double Indemnity, or an Ode to Keyes

I’ve found as I get older that my relationship to film changes – or at least my circumstance and ability to relate to it.

While they may be fixed indelibly onto celluloid or locked in digital, the person behind the eyes we see them through isn’t the same from one viewing to the next.…

RETROSPECTIVE: The L-Shaped Room [DVD/BluRay]

Edwardian hypocrisy and post-war deprivation are the order of the day in Brian Forbes’ The L-Shaped Room.

Based on Lynne Reid Banks’ book of the same name, the film follows Jane (an Oscar-nominated Leslie Caron), a twenty-seven year-old French émigré who arrives in early-60s London.…

RETROSPECTIVE: Perfect Blue – shades of Hitchcock in animated psychodrama

Twenty years on, Perfect Blue remains an almost perfect thriller.

A Hitchcockian study of identity, desire, and obsession recast in animated form, the film goes to some twisted places that even the Master of Suspense might shy away from.

Mima (voiced by Junko Iwao) is lead singer in the cutesy J-Pop quartet CHAM!, who, at the age of twenty-one, is looking to make a career move into acting.…

RETROSPECTIVE: Key Largo [Big screen classics @ The BFI]

This piece comes to you courtesy of my podcasting partner, the esteemed Mr. Rob Daniel of www.electric-shadows.com, who was kind of enough to go along to a screening of this in my stead.

Bogart and Bacall’s fourth and final film together, Key Largo is a claustrophobic chamber piece shot with threatening camera angles and aggressive lighting.

RETROSPECTIVE: Carrie (1976), The Shining, & IT [Stephen King On Screen @ The BFI]

Nightmares come in many forms, and it seems like most of our collective ones emanated from the subconscious of a seventy-year-old Mainiac.1

With his central themes of small-town corruption and loss of innocence, Stephen King he might well have become a latter-day Shirley Jackson, beloved of the literati,2 had he simply stayed around from pulp.…

RETROSPECTIVE: Terminator 2: Judgement Day (3D)

“Four billion human lives ended; August 29th, 1997. The survivors of the nuclear fire called the war Judgement Day. They lived only to face a new nightmare: the war against the machines”.

Out of all the films I’ve seen in my lifetime, and I like to think I’ve seen a few, perhaps none is as indelibly printed in my memory as James Cameron’s magnum opus, Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

RETROSPECTIVE: New Battles without Honour or Humanity

Few things can be relied on to sell a movie like sex and blood.

Packaging is, however, important; especially in terms of genre. As audiences slowly grow disenchanted with old reliables – as Americans did with Westerns and musicals back in the mid-‘60s – it’s important for studios to get one step ahead.…

RETROSPECTIVE: Desire, criminality, & hope in Prick Up Your Ears & Victim

2017 marks fifty years since the Sexual Offences Act was introduced in the UK, which led to the partial decriminalization of male homosexuality.

It’s also, coincidentally, fifty years since the death of taboo-busting gay playwright Joe Orton.

The BFI is currently presenting two separate seasons inspired by these events, Gross Indecency and Orton: Obscenities in Suburbia.…

RETROSPECTIVE: The Swimmer in the Age of Trump

‘When you talk about The Swimmer will you talk about yourself?’

So runs the poster tagline of Frank Perry’s sunny, psychologically fraught 1960 melodrama. While it’s true the film’s themes do have, if you’ll pardon the pun, a certain currency, they do seem particularly relevant in this; the so-called Age of Trump.…

RETROSPECTIVE: The Battle of Algiers, or The Revolution Will Not Be Simplified (Christopher Nolan Presents @ BFI)

The Battle of Algiers is perhaps the timeliest film about terrorism ever produced – from half a century ago.

When it was first released back in 1966, Gillo Pontecorvo’s depiction of the eponymous conflict was both praised and condemned for its scrupulously balanced presentation of terrorist and government atrocities during the French occupation of Algiers.…