DVD & Digital · GFF21

Film review: The Mauritanian

The US government’s forceful methods are called into question in Kevin Macdonald’s legal drama The Mauritanian, which tells the incredible true story of a suspected terrorist’s detainment at Guantanamo Bay. Based on the protagonist’s bestselling book, we see Mohamedou Ould Salahi (Tahar Rahim) imprisoned due to information suggesting his involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Still protesting his innocence three years after his arrest, he is represented by defence attorney Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) and her associate Teri (Shailene Woodley), while the military lawyer Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch) heads up the prosecution.

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DVD & Digital · GFF21

DVD review: Minari

Writer and director Lee Isaac Chung revisits his childhood in semi-autobiographical drama Minari. The narrative follows Korean-American couple Jacob (Steven Yeun) and Monica (Han Ye-ri) and their children Anne (Noel Kate Cho) and David (Alan Kim), who move to rural Arkansas to build a new life on a farm. With a lot to learn about the agricultural business, the challenges they face begin to put financial and emotional strain on their close-knit family.

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DVD review: Ammonite

 Following on from the critical success of his groundbreaking debut God’s Own Country, writer and director Francis Lee revisits the theme of repressed homosexual romance with his semi-biographical drama Ammonite. Set on the blustery shores of Lyme Regis in the 1840s, the plot is loosely inspired by palaeontologist Mary Anning. On his European tour, a wealthy fossil enthusiast arrives in town to visit Mary (Kate Winslet) to discuss her geological findings. His young wife Charlotte (Saoirse Ronan) is suffering from severe melancholia and he decides that the sea air will aid her recovery, so he carries on without her, leaving her in Mary’s care. Despite their stark financial and cultural differences, the pair strike up an endearing friendship, leading to a forbidden love that would impact upon their lives forever.

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DVD review: Supernova

On his first outing behind the camera, actor turned filmmaker Harry Macqueen crafted an indie hit on a low-budget and played one of the central parts himself. In contrast to this for his sophomore feature, he has brought together two of the finest actors in the business. Relationship drama Supernova stars Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci as husbands Sam and Tusker, whose lives are turned upside down due to the latter’s dementia diagnosis. They embark on a road trip in an old RV whilst coming to terms with their situation, visiting old friends along the way.

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DVD review: Possessor

Following in the footsteps of his father, the iconic filmmaker David Cronenberg, writer and director Brandon Cronenberg dabbles in the ‘body horror’ sub-genre that his old man pioneered for his grisly sophomore feature Possessor. Revered hitwoman Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough) is at the centre of the sci-fi thriller, working for an organisation that uses brain-implant technology to allow assassins to carry out hits whilst inhabiting someone else’s body. For her latest assignment, she must ‘possess’ Colin Tate (Christopher Abbott) to take out his boss John Parse (Sean Bean), the filthy rich head of a data mining corporate empire.

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DVD review: Shirley

Based on the novel of the same name by Susan Scarf Merrell, the latest drama from director Josephine Decker stars Elisabeth Moss as reclusive horror writer Shirley Jackson. As the eponymous author and her professor husband Stanley (Michael Stuhlbarg) invite newlyweds Fred (Logan Lerman), a fresh-faced teaching assistant, and his wife Rose (Odessa Young) into their marital home, the plot explores the complex dynamics of their relationships. In the beginning, the young and impressionable couple are keen to gain wisdom from their talented elders, but as the situation takes a perverse turn, their marriage is put to the test.

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Film review: Mangrove

Steve McQueen’s work was lauded with much critical acclaim when he directed historical saga 12 Years a Slave. For his latest effort, he tells another important true story of racial prejudice, but this time it’s much closer to home. The first episode of the Small Axe mini-series, Mangrove follows modest restaurateur Frank Crichlow (Shaun Parkes) as he opens a West Indian eatery in the Notting Hill district of West London. His place becomes a lively neighbourhood hub for the black community and after continuous harassment from the local authorities, he is encouraged by Black Panther Movement leader Altheia Jones-Lecointe (Letitia Wright) to make a stand. Their peaceful protest soon descends into chaos, leading to an emotionally-charged trial.

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DVD review: Tenet

Christopher Nolan continues to push the envelope of storytelling through his mind-bending plots and special effects. His latest effort, Tenet, might be his highest concept yet; an action thriller where a CIA agent played by John David Washington, credited only as The Protagonist, tries to save the world from a very peculiar threat. He teams up with Neil (Robert Pattinson) to investigate an organisation operating in the future where technology is being used to make objects move in reverse. This leads them to Russian oligarch Andrei Sator (Kenneth Branagh) and his wife Kat (Elizabeth Debicki), and when they discover the magnitude of the danger, they must manipulate time to overcome the odds.

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Film review: I Used to Go Here

 Gillian Jacobs goes back to school in indie comedy I Used to Go Here, written and directed by indie filmmaker Kris Rey. The story centres around Chicago-based author Kate Conklin (Jacobs) who, having just had her debut novel published, is asked to give a guest lecture at the college she had graduated from years earlier. This invite takes her back to the street she once lived on, reconnects her with former professor David (Jemaine Clement), and presents a unique opportunity to relive her youth.

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