EIFF 2012: Take 2


Day 2

Fukushima: Memories of a Lost Landscape ***

Director Yojyu Matsubayashi/ 109 mins 

A fascinating, but flawed documentary that centres on a group of families who have managed to be evacuated from the disaster area in Japan. Most are retired couples, who are confused and frightened by what has happened by the nuclear disaster. Even although the director Matsubayashi was denied permission due to him being a freelancer, he decides to carry on filming while posing as an aid worker.

 

The film is full of interesting quirky genuine characters, especially with the old man expresses his concern about running out of the sake that drinks every day. But unfortunately the documentary is let down by a lack of material towards the end and slowly becomes less and less intriguing. Once Matsubayashi goes back to Tokyo and covers the nuclear protests it loses focus of who the film is supposed to be focusing on. This would have worked better with a shorter running time, it is still worth a look however.

 

Pusher **

Director Luis Prieto / 86 mins 

A by the numbers remake of  Nicolas Winding Refn’s 1996 debut Pusher, which is similar to most in that it is pointless and does not live up to the original.

 

The film tells the story of a week in the life of  Frank (Richard Coyle), is a small time drug pusher in inner city London. Frank’s life soon spins out of control, when he owes a debit is owed to kingpin Milo (Zlatko Buric). Frank must pay the debt within a couple of days, otherwise Milo will get his money one way of another.

 

The plot follows closely to the original, but the characters have been downgraded in that they are not as conflicted or particularly threatening. The dialogue at times poorly written and some scenes do not flow as well as they did in Refn’s version. In fact it is hard to understand why he would even produce a second imitation of one of his own films. Prieto has used every cliché in the English gangster movie book from  strobe-lit nightclubs to images of poor areas of  London.

 

It is not all bad however, the performances are good especially by the fashion model Agyness Deyn who is the highlight. Although comedian Paul Kaye seems completely out of place. The music by Orbital also works well with the chase and nightclub sequences.

 

At the end of the day the film just goes back to the thing that it should have escaped from in the late 90’s, repetitive boring clichéd gangster films.

 

Lovely Molly **

Director Eduardo Sanchez / 99 mins 

Sanchez who was one half of the directing team for The Blair Witch Project returns with an eerie psychological horror about demonic possession which lacks scares and is full of plot holes.

 

An ex heroin addict Molly (Gretchen Lodge) moves into her old family home with her hardworking truck driver Tim ( Johnny Lewis). They start to hear strange sounds from deep in the house and something starts to set off their alarm system. When Tim later departs to work, Molly begins to lose her sanity, frightening her sister and raising serious concerns from her boss. Though suspicions of a relapse into drug abuse soon surface, the reality of Molly’s situation brings back terrifying childhood memories.

 

For a film that bills itself as a horror, it seems strange that there is only one good scare and even that is near the start of the movie. There are scenes of real tension essentially in the moments at night in the house this is due to the great sound and editing in the film, but the payoff is always disappointing.  The story has some interesting ideas in it, but similar to the supposed apparitions are completely unbelievable especially in Molly’s revelation in what happened to her as a child.

 

Everyone in the cast gives good performances, Lodge and Alexandra Holden who play her sister work well together. Not to mention the great haunting score by Tortoise. The audience will feel for Molly, but unfortunately characterisation is focused on more than the actual story.

 

Reviews by Paul Logan

 

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