The Assassination of Richard Nixon

Despite some impressive acting and a fascinating subject matter this drama isnít quite as powerful or involving as it should be.

Sometimes real life events are more extraordinary than anything dreamt up by screenwriters. The real life events that form the basis for The Assassination of Richard Nixon are as extraordinary as the fact that it actually got made. In the aftermath of 9/11 it seemed inconceivable that a film about a man planning to hijack an airliner and fly it into the White House would make it to cinema screens. However, time and the support some major Hollywood talent have made the film a reality. But whilst the material is undeniably intriguing and benefits from a fine central performance, it never quite becomes the gripping drama it promises to be. Continue reading “The Assassination of Richard Nixon”

Downfall

Featuring an outstanding performance from Bruno Ganz as Adolf Hitler, Downfall is a gruelling and compelling depiction of the final days of the Third Reich.

The lack of German films about Adolf Hitler is a striking hole in post-war German cinema. Nazis have featured in many films and tv shows but often appear as comedy sidekicks in TV shows like Hogans Heroes, one dimensional villains in films like Raiders of the Lost Ark, or more usually as distant enemy figures in more conventional war films like Saving Private Ryan. Few have dared to seriously examine the Nazi regime and place them centre stage. What is so striking about Downfall, the latest film from director Oliver Hirschbiegel, is that it provides a stark and unflinching gaze at the Nazi high command. Disturbingly, the film forces us to look upon figures such as Hitler and Goebbels with a new eye, judging them as rounded human beings rather than the caricatures they have become. Continue reading “Downfall”

The Ring Two

Despite having the director of the original Ring films at the helm this sequel to the 2002 remake is a lacklustre affair with only a couple of cheap shocks to recommend it.

Hollywood has an impressive track record of screwing up remakes of decent films so when The Ring came out a couple of years ago the omens were not good. The 1998 Japanese original, entitled Ringu, was highly effective and compared favourably to the flabby self regarding horror films that US studios were churning out after the success of the Scream films (does anyone remember Valentine?). Despite losing the raw power of the original, Gore Verbinkiís remake was surprisingly good and its financial success inevitably led to this sequel. Continue reading “The Ring Two”