March 13, 2013


"Lore" is a rarity:  A World War Two film, from the German perspective.

The protagonist is Hannahlore, a teenage girl with four younger siblings, and an SS officer for a father.  As defeat trundles through Germany, both her parents are forced to take responsibility, and the children are left alone.  Armed with a pocket of golden jewellery, Hannahlore must lead her siblings across a newly occupied and divided Germany, to the safety of her grandmother's house.

I have a personal interest in World War Two, and was looking forward to "Lore" because it offers something different: a film about that period from the German perspective.  As the children travel through the country, they witness the grief Hitler's death has caused, and the confusion of the German people about the atrocities that were committed.  Germany is presented coldly, yet compassionately, which is a brave statement, and makes a unique change.

However, the story is weak.  There are a few shocking events thrown in for good measure, an attempt at a love story, and an unsatisfying resolution.  The film basically pivots on stunning, visceral shots of flowing fabrics, blades of grass, and the haunting expressions of beautiful .

Nonetheless, the sympathetic treatment of Germany is fresh and daring, and the director's willingness to offer another perspective on a exhausted genre is it's saving grace.

The fact it's a visual feast doesn't hurt either ;)  People who don't like art house films should probably keep away.

7 / 10.

March 11, 2013


"Broken" is a coming-of-age drama about an 11 year old diabetic girl called Skunk.  An unstable single father's violent attack on a disabled neighbour marks the first of a series of changes that impact her life and force her to deal with her fears.

It's difficult to comment on "Broken" without giving too much of the plot away.  The debut feature from British theatre director Rufus Norris weaves beautiful, documentary-style shots, starkly punctuated editing and non-linear storytelling together in a humourous and touching way. Or at least it does for the first two thirds of the film.  The final third (or "Act") suddenly descends into unmitigated madness.  It's shocking, and harrowing, but feels oddly out of place, and more like an attempt to shock and pull heart strings.  Let's just say it makes sense that Norris was formally a theatre director.

On the positives:  I'm a big fan of both Tim Roth and Cillian Murphy, and overall the acting was fantastic.  Also the theme song carved a place in my heart - it's a cover of a the Blur song "Colours", and it's ridiculously catchy :)

Sweet to watch to a point, after that I felt manipulated.  5 / 10.

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