Jar City

Jar City (Mýrin) (2006)

Jar City (Mýrin) first published by Film4 Summary: In Baltasar Kormákur’s Icelandic chiller, a police inspector investigates both a murder and his nation’s inherited history. Review: The label film noir may conjure images of New York’s mean streets or Paris’ shadowy avenues, but in fact, as Erik Skjoldbærg’s Norway-set Insomnia proved in 1997, the genre can also…

Brick

Brick (2005)

Brick first published by EyeforFilm, 11 May 2006 Film noir has cast its shadow over genres as wide-ranging as science fiction (Blade Runner), horror (Angel Heart), the war film (The Army In The Shadows) and even the documentary (The Thin Blue Line), while the classrooms, corridors and cafeterias of the high school flick have proved…

Phantom

Phantom (2023)

Phantom screened at the London Korean Film Festival 2023. This is a transcript of my on-stage introduction. From 1910 to the end of the Second World War, Korea was under Japanese Occupation. Unsurprisingly this is a bitter period in the national memory. Land was forcibly seized; freedom of the press, and even of expression, were…

Open the Door

Open the Door (2022)

Open the Door screened at the London Korean Film Festival 2023. This is the text (more or less) of my on-stage introduction. There has recently been a spate of films, like Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari (2020), Anthony Shim’s Riceboy Sleeps (2022) and Celine Song’s Past Lives (2023), that deal with the Korean diaspora in North…

To Sleep So As To Dream

To Sleep So As To Dream (1986)

To Sleep So As To Dream (Yumemiru yôni nemuritai) first published by Little White Lies, as entry 150 in my Cinema Psychotronicum column Watching Kaizō Hayashi’s To Sleep So As To Dream (Yumemiru yôni nemuritai) involves also watching The Eternal Mystery, a silent melodramatic chanbara in which the ‘Black Mask’ strives to rescue the beautiful…

Toxic Impulses

Toxic Impulses (2022)

“Where is she?” asks a bald, moustachioed man who has pursued another through a warehouse basement and pinned him to the wall. The bald man then threatens to shoot his captive in the heart if he will not tell, and this is no idle threat – for within seconds, he has fired a single bullet,…

The Man From London

The Man From London (A Londoni Férfi) (2007)

The Man From London (A Londoni Férfi) first published by Film4 Summary: Hungarian auteurist couple Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky fill their spare waterfront noir with the shadowy morality of crime and punishment.    Review: “Don’t follow me too soon… Wait a good two minutes.” These are the first words heard in Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky’s…

Badger

American Badger (aka The Badger) (2021)

American Badger first published by VODzilla.co The badger, we are told at the beginning of Kirk Caouette’s sort-of sequel to his Promiseland (2019), is a solitary, anti-social creature that will fight viciously when backed into a corner – the American variety more than its European counterpart. The hitman Dean (Caouette) gets his nom de guerre…

House of Bamboo

House of Bamboo (1955)

House of Bamboo first published by Little White Lies, as the 118th entry in my Cinema Psychotronicum column Location is everything. In 1948, William Keighley made the monochrome The Street With No Name, a film noir full of infiltration and imposture, and set it on the Skid Row of a fictional ‘Center City’ (in fact…

Immortal

Immortal (aka Immortel (ad Vitam)) (2004)

Immortal (aka Immortel (ad Vitam)) first published by Film4 Summary: Enki Bilal brings the mannered universe of his own comic books to life, in a hybrid mix of real and virtual action. Review: New York, 2095. On the eve of an election, a giant stone pyramid has appeared, hovering over the cityscape, while Central Park has transformed…