Friday, May 30, 2014


Films with a minimalist cast are often tricky to do. Sometimes there's too much for the few characters to do while other times there's not enough for them to do. It all requires the right balance.

Steven Knight's Locke has such a balance, and it shows throughout the film's short runtime. In the film's 85-minute duration, Knight relies on a short story, key actors and a sharp eye to make his film work. And boy, does it pay off.

The main star of Locke is Tom Hardy, who is definitely one of the best actors out of the UK in recent years. Here, Hardy proves he can carry a film very much on his own. (Then again, he more or less already proved that with Bronson.) The camera lingers only on him and damn, he knows what he's doing.

The main supporting actors (which are only their voices) are familiar names to those who have seen their fair share of British television. (Those actors, by the way, are Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson and Andrew Scott.) Much like with Scarlett Johansson in Her, they provide dynamic performances with only their voices. (I'm starting to see a trend form.)

Anyway, Locke is a very effective piece of filmmaking. Knight proves that you don't always need to go into grand detail to make a damn good film. Sometimes simpler is better.

My Rating: *****

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fading Gigolo

When the subject of sex in the focus of a film, the characters in said film are often in their twenties or thirties. Bear in mind most people at that time of their lives aren't that well-versed with sex. (I'm certainly not.) Apparently it's mainly a way to sell more tickets. (Oh, the sacrifices one must make for a better reaction.)

Fortunately, John Turturro averted that route when he made Fading Gigolo. Instead of having a film full of people who are a little too experienced with sex for their age, Fading Gigolo has a cast of people who've had their fair share of sexual encounters (and maybe even fallen in love at some point). Hollywood, just do this instead of having a cast full of thirtysomethings.

Amusingly, despite what the title implies, Fading Gigolo doesn't rely strictly on sex. The film also focuses the interactions we share with people. It can be something as simple as passing someone on the sidewalk and saying hello to them. A casual hello can often cheer up one's day.

Sure, there are several films that also revolve around human interaction, but Fading Gigolo feels a bit more modest in some scenes. Granted, said scenes have their flaws but Turturro keeps an air of honesty to them. (It takes a keen eye to notice subtly.)

It may not be the kind of film most people would enjoy, but I liked Fading Gigolo. Yes, it has its flaws but it's a mostly solid film. It's nice to see a mature film about sex and personal relationships every now and again. Also, I look forward to seeing Turturro's other ventures as a director.

My Rating: ****