Even the most resourceful, imaginative filmmaker would be hard-pressed to redeem the screenplay, specifically the lengths to which Cody goes to disguise the true nature of the story, and also the underlying reasons for the charade, which are unconvincing and in bad faith.
If one of the principal powers and pleasures of cinema is its ability to momentarily suspend thoughts or cares about what lies outside the frame, then Zama can be taken an object lesson in manipulation. Every strenuously controlled moment and movement constitutes an irresistible entreaty to simply go blank and watch.
Guadagnino and screenwriter James Ivory have produced a film that simultaneously analyzes and dramatizes issues of sexuality, religious identity, and, once again, privilege and yet without straining against its clearly marked narrative boundaries.
The juxtaposition of different kinds of interiority, of a living space and a headspace being simultaneously invaded, is sophisticated and clever. It is also not quite enough to offset the accumulation of cliches that Shults uses to shape his story, which is little more than pretense for shows of stylistic force.
The padre and the psychopath are figures situated at either end of his career, but as they gaze at their reflections, they also mirror one another: one can find within these two very different films the parallel plights of men in the midst of desperate introspection.
Just as Jay takes his place as the figurehead of a pagan cult, so too did Kill List crown Wheatley as the king of UK horror movies when it was released theatrically, a speedy ascension to a throne that had sat vacant since the 1970s.
The tension in Sieranevada is between the various lies told and recalled by its characters and the relentless objectivity of its camera, which swoops, pans, hovers, lurks, sulks, and retreats in sync with its subjects but, crucially, does not embellish.
At his best, Spielberg expresses ideas through action, as he did in parts of the motion-capture animation The Adventures of Tintin. The BFG is mostly logy and prosaic, especially when it gets into its speech-heavy final scenes, which recall not the high-points of its maker’s career, but the soggy sentimentality of Hook.
As the writer-director of seventeen feature films in nineteen years (a Fassbinderian pace), whose work has been screened on multiple continents in the context of film festivals, Hong surely recognizes the ritual nature/torture of the filmmaker Q&A.