The Big Issue : Edition 541
FILM 38 THE BIG ISSUE 14 – 27 JUL 2017 With a plague ravaging humanity, Paul (Joel Edgerton), his wife Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) and their teenage son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr) have retreated to a cabin in the woods. Despite protective gas masks and plastic sheeting, Sarah’s father has just died. Tensions are high, even before darkness falls and a stranger named Will (Christopher Abbott) breaks into their house. Will eventually persuades them he’s just trying to keep his family alive, and a trip to retrieve his wife and child reveals just how dangerous the outside world has become. Being holed up together isn’t much safer, and paranoia and suspicion soon set in. Writer-director Trey Edward Schults is more interested in building suspense than providing answers, and this is best enjoyed – or endured – as a series of knife-edge sequences rather than something with a deeper meaning. Cramped cinematography puts the focus on the excellent cast; Edgerton’s gruff survivalist drives the film, but Harrison’s grieving teen (and his surreal, horrific dreams) is its bleeding heart. ANTHONY MORRIS A MONSTER CALLS C (Casey Affleck) and M (Rooney Mara) lead a secluded, quiet life. The couple is torn apart when C dies suddenly in a car accident, leaving M grief-stricken, but he returns as a white-sheeted ghost – complete with two gaping holes for eyes. Invisible to others, C silently watches over M, communicating via twitching light bulbs and moving objects. The use by David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) of long takes, careful framing and a melancholic score highlights the mysticism of his subjects and their environment. Lowery’s sense of wonder extends to no less than the cosmos and the search for meaning, which he explores deeply in this contemplative new-age horror film. C continues to inhabit their home long after M has left and new people move in, before the house bizarrely morphs into a city landscape followed by the American frontier. The most experimental indie film for a while, A Ghost Stor y is a stirring, allegorical tale of mortality and the power of love. FIONA VILLELLA A GHOST STORY IT COMES AT NIGHT LAST WEEK, SHORTLY before arriving in Athens, I saw Wonder Woman. Patty Jenkins’ better-than- your-average superhero romp paints Wonder Woman’s native Greek island of Amazons as the Land of the Gods, whose translucent waters are pure enough to birth a super-being as proportionally perfect as Gal Gadot. The gulf couldn’t be wider between the CGI gloss (Wonder Woman was actually shot in Italy) and the reality. Right now Athens’ garbage collectors are striking over precarious casual contracts, and uncollected rubbish is piling up in the streets. Whole suburbs here are covered with graffiti protesting the devastating corollaries of economic crisis. Refugees camp out in Exarcheia Square. I’m here in part to attend Documenta 14, the German contemporary arts festival. I find myself drawn to the video works: Chinese filmmaker Wang Bing’s 15 Hours, which documents migrant garment workers, and British-born artist Naeem Mohaiemen’s Tripoli Cancelled, a feature-length commission that was shot in Athens’ now-abandoned Ellinikon International Airport, which dramatises his father’s experience being trapped there for nine days in 1977 without a passport. The relevance of the $55 million festival has been controversial to say the least. Adjacent to the sparkling new National Museum of Contemporary Art building are several abandoned apartment blocks-turned-squats, uncollected garbage in front cooking in the scorching sun. Inside, where it is cool and blindingly clean, we claim to bear witness. REBECCA HARKINS-CROSS > Film Editor Flawlessly rendered animation meets highly sophisticated emotional storytelling in this powerful screen fable. Adapting his own novel of the same name, Patrick Ness has superbly penned a world where fear and imagination wrestle. Twelve-year-old Conor O’Malley (Lewis MacDougall) is bullied at school, feels abandoned by his father (Toby Kebbell) and doesn’t see eye-to-eye with his grandmother (a stern but empathetic Sigourney Weaver). Unable to come to terms with the terminal nature of his mother’s (Felicity Jones) illness, Conor is visited by a tree-like monster (a gentle metaphor for familial roots, accompanied by the warm, gravelly voice of Liam Neeson). Deftly handled by director JA Bayona (The Impossible), Ness’ story is brought to life with flair and gravitas. Bayona’s precision of pace and carefully pitched tone elevate the film from a smart rumination on the power of stor ytelling to a searing experience of compassion and unbearable loss. TARA JUDAH CINEMA RELEASE STREAMING GODDESS GADOT.