Tesla, Make Up, I See You, Odd Thomas, Utøya: July 22 and Afterschool – Quick Read Reviews

10 mins read

October 2020

Looking for something to watch tonight? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our monthly pick of movies old and new, without the long review. Instead, these quick recommendations offer a summary of our thoughts alongside details of the movies length, certificate and genre. So settle back for this months selection, including, Tesla, Make Up, I See You, Odd Thomas, Utøya: July 22 and Afterschool

Tesla (2020)

Tesla is available on all major streaming platforms from the 21st September

Director:  Michael Almereyda

Cast:  Ethan HawkeEve HewsonEli A. Smith, Kyle MacLachlan, Lucy Walters, Josh Hamilton

Certificate: 12

Runtime: 102 minutes

Genre: Drama

Scientists have had a pretty rough ride in recent biopics, from the bland Radioactive through to the dire The Current War. Of course, in the latter, the scientific pioneer and genius Nicola Tesla (1856-1943) was played by Nicholas Hoult. But with the new film Tesla, it’s Ethan Hawke in the driving seat. With a performance that is both delicate and mesmerising; Tesla’s mind far ahead of his time and place. While director Michael Almereyda cleverly dovetails this fact with a postmodern documentary-like feel to proceedings. And while it may be slow, Tesla rises far above its predecessor The Current War. Resulting in a unique, engaging and fascinating portrait of a man who helped create our modern world.

Make Up (2019)

Make Up is available now on Curzon Home Cinema

Director: Claire Oakley

Cast: Molly WindsorJoseph QuinnStefanie Martini, Theo Barklem-Biggs, Lisa Palfrey

Certificate: 15

Runtime: 86 minutes

Genre: Drama / Thriller

Debut feature films don’t come much stronger than Claire Oakley’s haunting and windswept movie. The Cornish ‘out of season’ caravan park where the story unfolds wrapped in a genre-defying mix of drama, thriller and horror. The taught coming of age journey of young Ruth submerged in an ocean of intrigue, sexuality, desire and isolation. Within a sparse and ghostly environment where the fox’s screech in the night and the wind howls around empty mobile homes. Meanwhile, Oakley’s dynamic use of vivid colour and haunting sound is matched by the accomplished performances of an outstanding cast. So settle back, dim the lights, and let the waves of Make Up engulf you in a unique and intriguing cinematic experience. 

I See You (2019)

I See You is available now on all major streaming platforms

Director: Adam Randall

Cast: Helen HuntJon TenneyJudah Lewis, Owen Teague, Libe Barer, Gregory Alan Williams

Certificate: 15

Runtime: 98 minutes

Genre: Thriller

Slipping under the radar in 2019, I See You is an accomplished, riveting and eerie thriller. Every scene dripping with suspense and intrigue as director Adam Randall and debut screenwriter Devon Graye keep the audience on tenterhooks from the first scene to the last. In a three-act film that shines with originality, as we embark on a thrilling rollercoaster ride where nothing is as it first seems.

Meanwhile, Helen Hunt, Jon Tenney and Judah Lewis excel as a family surrounded by a darkness that loiters in the corners of every room of their luxurious home. At the same time as their local community descends into the horror of child abduction. The possibility that a killer from the past has returned to the town haunting every moment of the present. But, as events spiral out of control and the truth behind the communities pain and the family’s torment converge, dark and long-held secrets are brought into the light.

Odd Thomas (2013)

Odd Thomas is available now on all major streaming platforms

Director: Stephen Sommers

Cast: Anton YelchinAshley SommersLeonor Varela, Willem Dafoe, Addison Timlin, Nico Tortorella

Certificate: 15

Runtime: 100 minutes

Genre: Fantasy / Thriller

Utøya: July 22 (2018)

Utøya: July 22 is available on all major streaming platforms now

Director: Erik Poppe

Cast: Andrea BerntzenAleksander HolmenSolveig Koløen Birkeland, Brede Fristad, Elli Rhiannon Müller Osbourne

Certificate: 15

Runtime: 93 minutes

Genre: Drama

The horror of the events that took place on Utøya Island on July 22nd 2011 will long haunt society. As young people enjoying a summer camp organised by the Norwegian Labour Party found themselves the subject of pure hatred and violence. With a lone gunman killing 69 people on the Island and a further 8 in Oslo; with hundreds injured. Unlike the Netflix film released the same year, Utøya: July 22 has no interest in the thoughts or background of the right-wing terrorist at the heart of the devastation. Instead, opting to focus squarely on the abject terror and fight for survival of those young people caught in his horrific net of hate.

Shot in a heart wrenching and challenging single take, Poppe’s film echoes many of the hyper-real attributes of Gus Van Sant’s Elephant (2003). The resulting movie one of such immense power and emotion that it divided critics and audiences alike on release. However, this is a film that wants the audience to play witness to the events, while never seeking to exploit them for cinematic effect. With many of the survivors of Utøya directly involved in the writing of the screenplay and eventual filming. As a result, the audience is asked to reflect on the real horror of hatred and violence. And while this may prove challenging, it is also essential in us understanding the abhorrence of terrorism and those who perpetrate and plan such events.  

Afterschool (2008)

Afterschool is available on selected streaming platforms now

Director: Antonio Campos

Cast: Ezra MillerJeremy Allen WhiteEmory Cohen, Michael Stuhlbarg 

Certificate: 18

Runtime: 107 minutes

Genre: Drama

Not only is Afterschool the debut feature film for director/writer Antonio Campos, but it is also the world’s introduction to Ezra Miller. In a movie that takes a clear lead from Michael Haneke’s Benny’s Video, while equally reflecting the turbulence of teenage life seen in Gus Van Sant’s early work. Afterschool smartly updates the VHS discussions of Haneke’s 1992 film for the YouTube generation. While at the same time reflecting on the mental health impact of young people who feed on an online world, without the maturity to navigate the scenes reaching their young eyes.

However, this critical dissection of online media is equally wrapped in the isolation and paranoia of a boarding school, where image trumps any desire to understand the psychological needs of students. With the resulting journey, both uncomfortable and intelligent as the narrative demands scrutiny of the boundaries between compassion and indifference. The young people at the heart of the story both the manipulated and manipulators of their modern world. While at the same time, adults choose ignorance over action.  

Read the September edition of Quick Read here

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