cinema · EIFF19

Film review: Schemers

 Scottish films have a tendency to be Highlands-based horror shows, or to take place within Edinburgh or Glasgow, or so it’s refreshing to have a Dundonian tale in Dave McLean’s autobiographical drama Schemers. Based on the teenage years of the first-time writer and director, the story follows David (Conor Berry) in 1979, the exciting coming-of-age phase of his life. When a nasty football injury forces him to reevaluate his career options, he seizes an opportunity in music promotion with pals Scot (Sean Connor) and John (Grant Robert Keelan) but runs into trouble along the way.

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cinema · EIFF19

Film review: Them That Follow

 Indie writer and directors Brittany Poulton and Daniel Savage come together for their feature debut Them That Follow, a religious thriller set deep in the Appalachian Mountains. Pastor Lemuel Childs (Walton Goggins) is a revered snake-handler at the heart of the close-knit community’s church, but the story focuses predominantly on Mara (Alice Englert), his repressed yet beloved daughter. She’s engaged to marry local lad Garret (Lewis Pullman) but is carrying a controversial secret that forces her to question her faith.

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cinema · EIFF19

Film review: Emma Peeters

 A decade on from her feature debut, writer and director Nicole Palo revisits the topic of suicide in her faux romantic comedy flick Emma Peeters. The eponymous Emma (Monia Chokri) is a struggling actress living in Paris, making ends meet in retail while she pursues her lifelong dream to be a star. After being knocked back at yet another audition, she decides that enough is enough and that she will kill herself on her upcoming 35th birthday. Whilst making the necessary arrangements, she meets oddball funeral director Alex (Fabrice Adde) who offers to assist her in her suicidal mission.

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cinema · EIFF19

Film review: Get Duked

Writer director Ninian Doff carries forward his filmmaking flair from music videos into his feature debut Boyz in the Wood, a coming-of-age comedy set in the Scottish Highlands. The story follows four teenagers as they embark on an orienteering trip, competing for the coveted Duke of Edinburgh award. Misfits miscreants Dean (Rian Gordon), Duncan (Lewis Gribben), and DJ Beatroot (Viraj Juneja) are joined by do-gooder Ian (Samuel Bottomley) for the great adventure, but they soon run into trouble when they lose their map and encounter some eccentric, unwelcoming locals.

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cinema · GFF19

Film review: The Wedding Guest

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Acclaimed writer and director Michael Winterbottom is perhaps best known for his work in the comedy genre, but has stepped into a more abstruse field for his latest feature. The Wedding Guest is a mystery thriller set on a criminal’s journey between Pakistan and India. Armed with weaponry and a pile of fake IDs, Jay (Dev Patel) flies from Britain to track down bride-to-be Samira (Radhika Apte) ahead of her forthcoming nuptials. With unclear motives, he kidnaps the young woman in the dead of night, but the crepuscular job takes an unexpected turn.

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cinema

Film review: Dumped (Larguées)

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French writer-director Eloïse Lang explores the relationship between a mother and her daughters in comedy-drama Dumped (Larguées). Rose (Camille Cottin) is a wacky party animal who enjoys a care-free life of drinking and dancing until the small hours. Her sister Alice (Camille Chamoux) is quite the opposite; happily married with two young children. When their mother Françoise (Miou-Miou) is dumped by their father for a younger woman, they hatch a plan to cheer her up, whisking her off to Réunion island for what is intended to be a weekend of sun, sea, sand and serenity.

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cinema

Film review: Walk Like a Panther

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Writer and director Dan Cadan reminisces about the golden age of British wrestling with his feature debut Walk Like a Panther, a so-called comedy set in Yorkshire. Mark Bolton (Stephen Graham) is the cheeky-chappy landlord of The Half Nelson, the local drinking den frequented by a group of former grapplers known as the Panthers. When the beloved pub’s future is threatened by devilish developer Paul Peterson (Stephen Tompkinson), Mark turns to his dad Trevor (Dave Johns) and the rest of the gang to save the day.

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cinema

Film review: The Secret Scripture

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Sebastian Barry’s novel The Secret Scripture was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize back in 2008, and now writer and director Jim Sheridan has adapted the Irish story from page to screen. The plot centres around mental hospital patient Roseanne McNulty (Vanessa Redgrave) who has spent fifty years in an institute after she was reported to have brutally murdered her new-born baby. With plans set in motion to demolish the home and for a flat redevelopment, Dr. William Grene (Eric Bana) is sent to assess her state of mind. A dark past is soon revealed through both the scribbles and sketches in her beloved Bible which give the film its name, and in flashback sequences were Rooney Mara takes the leading role as the young protagonist.

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cinema

Film review: Shepherds and Butchers

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Steve Coogan may well be best known for his comedic beginnings and his recurring reincarnations as television and radio presenter Alan Partridge, but from more recent roles, in particular his part in Oscar nominated film Philomena, we now know he can do serious seriously well. In courtroom-drama Shepherds and Butchers, written and directed by Oliver Schmitz, he plays compassionate defence lawyer Johan Webber. When seven black men are callously shot and killed by 17-year-old prison guard Leon Labuschagne (Garion Dowds), Webber is given the impossible task of defending him at the trial. Set in 1987 South Africa, he is pitted against prosecutor Kathleen Murray (Andrea Riseborough), who argues that Leon should be sentenced to death. An intelligently told story unfolds, exploring and dissecting the conflicting views on capital punishment; a system which was abolished just eight years later.

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